10 Things to Do When Your Kid Gets Sick
What should I do when my kids get sick?
It’s one of the most-asked questions I receive. I know you love your little one so much, and it’s the worst feeling to see him or her suffering at the hands of any kind of sickness. But you’re not helpless!
The next time your child begins to fall under the weather, I want you to feel empowered. By the end of this article, I hope you know the actions you can take, the things you can give, and the practices you can rely on to boost your child’s immune system. Thus, helping your child recover as quickly and fully as possible!
But first, a note on childhood and sickness in general… Getting sick is natural and even good! Fighting off bugs is a way to build a robust immune system. This is an especially important part of childhood.
Let’s not overreact and over-medicate every little sniffle. Instead, let’s approach sicknesses with the seriousness they deserve, but in full knowledge that our bodies (and our children’s) are made to heal and recover when given the proper support they need.
A final note on childhood immunity and sickness. The best medicine is prevention! For daily year-round support, I’m a big fan of Garden of Life multivitamin, Klaire Labs powder or chewable probiotic, Orthomolecular vitamin D or Seeking Health drops, and Nordic Naturals Omega for kids. Most of these can be purchased via my Fullscript dispensary.
With that, here are ten things I do when my little ones come down with an illness:
1. Healthy Foods + Hydration
This is pretty much an “all the time” thing for my kids, but never more important than when they’re sick. We cut out sugar, gluten and dairy. If my child isn’t hungry, I don’t force her to eat. The body puts its energy into fighting off sickness versus digestion, so it’s perfectly normal for the appetite to go away during sickness.
When my child is sick and still feels hungry, I lean heavily into foods such as: bone broth cooked vegetables, rice congee and easy-to-digest soups. If my child has a tummy bug, we do bland foods like bananas and applesauce. If my child has a fever, we do cooling foods like low-glycemic whole fruits (blueberries, raspberries, citrus fruits, etc.).
Garlic and onion have particularly healing properties, so I find any way possible for my child to consume these when he’s feeling sick. Typically, in a soup is the easiest way! I also find that they tend to crave organic, cold pressed juice or smoothies when sick.
Hydration is so important, especially if your child is throwing up. The key is to start small and build up from there. First, get him to tolerate ice chips. Then, tiny sips of liquid. And so forth. If you have a baby, you can always try little syringes instead of ice chips. Good liquid options are LMNT, Quinton, unsweetened coconut water, water with a squeeze of lemon, teas such as ginger or peppermint and of course simple filtered water. LMNT, Quinton and coconut water in particular will help replenish electrolytes.
2. Rest + Sleep
I cannot overstate the importance of rest and sleep when a child is sick. This is the time for extended naps and early bedtimes. Don’t stress about the perfect schedule when your child is sick. Give them all the cuddles and rest their bodies need.
And a note on rest – while some shows or movies are okay, beware of letting your child “veg out” in front of a screen all day while he’s sick. Screens (and shows/movies targeted at children, in particular) can be extremely stimulating. So while it might appear as though your child is resting, screens can often have an opposite effect. But I get it, you gotta do what you gotta do to get by sometimes when you have a sick kid.
3. Steamy Showers + Healing Detox Baths
I’m a big proponent of steamy showers (with Essentially salvee breathe steemer or essential oil splashed on the shower wall) if a child is congested. The oil and steam will combine to help drain congestion. These steamy showers can be done multiple times a day!
Detox and healing baths including my favorite Sea Salt + Iodine bath or Epsom Salt Soak bath (1 cup magnesium flakes + 1/4 cup baking soda + (optional) a couple drops of lavender essential oil) are relaxing remedies that most children respond to very well! I find that when my kids are sick, they really enjoy the bath as it can be soothing and relaxing, and it’s a great activity to incorporate to allow time to pass. If my kids have a fever, I do more of a luke warm bath.
I find that sometimes just adding salt to the bath, allows their mucus to drain. It acts almost like a magnet, pulling out the mucus and snot. There have been days where I have done this 2-3 times per day, depending on the symptoms, but it does allow for them to drain their sinuses and rest more comfortably at night/breathe better!
4. Bust the Congestion
In addition to steamy showers or baths, saline and suction as necessary are important for clearing congestion and lowering chances of ear infections. Ear infections are so much more likely to occur when mucus becomes stagnant and backed up.
Any time my child shows a hint of ear discomfort, I use Garlic Mullein Oil drops. I personally do 1-2 drops 2-3x/day. If your child has a perforated ear drum or if they have tubes, this is not appropriate.
Personally, I use Seagate nasal spray for congestion, dry sinuses, and irritated nasal tissue.
5. Sunshine and Outdoor Air When Possible
If your child is feeling well enough to go outside, and if the weather is agreeable, then you should know that fresh air and sunshine are incredibly healing when fighting sickness. Gentle movement (such as a short walk) is also beneficial. For bonus points, let your child go barefoot to reap the benefits of grounding in the grass. If they are not up for walking, you could consider laying a towel down for them to just get sunshine and fresh air, or sit in the stroller for a walk.
I’ll start by saying that supplementation dosages are almost always given according to your child’s age/weight, and I will therefore be making very few blanket recommendations on dosage. It is always appropriate to consult your pediatrician as well.
However, here are the supplements I turn to when my child is feeling sick:
Vitamin C – For its antioxidant properties, vitamin C is incredibly supportive of countless cellular functions! I like Pique Elderberry Liposomal Vitamin C (use code TAYLORDUKES) or Mary Ruth’s Liquid Vitamin C (use code MROTDW15).
Vitamin D + K2 – Proven to boost immunity, and most people are deficient. I like Seeking Health D3 + K2 drops, which you can get via my Fullscript dispensary.
Vitamin A – Has protective, immune-boosting properties and helps rid the body of bacteria and pathogens. I like Seeking Health Vitamin A drops, which you can get via my Fullscript dispensary.
Zinc – Can help reduce both severity and duration of illness. I like Premier Research Liquid Zinc, which you can get via my Fullscript dispensary. I also love Mary Ruth’s Zinc (use code MROTDW15).
Elderberry – Can be taken at the onset of symptoms to boost immune response. I like Herb Pharm Kids Black Elderberry.
Herb Pharm Immune Avenger Tincture – Super easy to give and includes a potent blend of herbs for fighting bad bugs.
Magnesium – Important for countless cellular processes that provide the body with energy and power to fight pathogens. While I love boosting my child’s magnesium levels via magnesium baths, I will sometimes supplement with Seeking Health Optimal Magnesium Capsules, which I’ll break apart and sprinkle a little into applesauce or some other food. You can find those via my Fullscript dispensary.
Beekeeper’s Kids Propolis Throat Spray – Fantastic for sore throats or nagging colds + coughs.
Briar Rose – Gemmo therapy at its finest! This plant-based therapy is incredibly gentle and suitable for young babies. You can find it via my Fullscript dispensary. I personally do about 8 drops 2-3x per day for my toddler.
Omega 3 – Great for fighting inflammation, especially for respiratory symptoms. I like Nordic Natural Children’s DHA for purity and ease of administering.
Symptom-based supplements – For specific symptoms, I supplement accordingly. For example, I’d give my child Chestal Honey for a cough or Throat Calm for a sore throat.
A follow up question might be – That’s great, Danika, but how on earth do you get your kid to take those supplements?!
I love putting the supplements in a liquid “shot” of organic cold pressed juice in a small cup like an EZPZ cup. Then they can gulp it down in one or two swallows! For my baby, I just use a syringe. Sometimes, I will add it to a smoothie or culina yogurt.
I use homeopathy according to whatever symptoms my child is showing. Each vile or container should have dosage recommendations, so follow those recommendations accordingly.
Some of my favorite homeopathy remedies include:
Oscillococciunum – for aches, fever, chills and flu-like symptoms
Cold calm – for coughs, cold, sore throat and congestion
Nux vomica – for upset tummies and nausea
Aconitum – for fever and discomfort
Bryonia – for aches
I also want to point out that homeopathy does not interact with medications, which is one of the reasons they’re a go-to for me during childhood sicknesses. I don’t have to worry about whether or not they should or shouldn’t be taken alongside our other supplements!
8. Red Light
Red light for even just 10 minutes can be both soothing and healing. When my little one is feeling sick and resting on the couch, I like to pull out the red light and have her spend a little time in front of it. I love LumeBox and JOOVV I even allow short periods of time in the sauna with red light therapy.
9. Lymphatic Massage
Lymphatic massage can be especially helpful when trying to drain mucus and congestion. This video explains how to use massage in order to drain your child’s sinus and ear passages to minimize the chances of infection and improve any discomfort.
Comfort measures can go a long way in not only making your little one feel better amidst sickness, but also truly expediting healing. Here are so easy (because if it’s hard, it likely won’t happen!) ways to comfort your child when she’s sick:
Heating pad – Put a warm heating pad over the tummy for stomach aches and nausea
Topical essential oils – Relaxing oils like lavender (always diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut oil) can comfort and calm a sick child. Oils such as DoTerra’s Breathe Blend or Young Living’s RC Blend (again, diluted in a carrier oil) and rubbed over the chest can be helpful for respiratory illnesses.
Back and foot rubs – This is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s sometimes easy to forget how comforting this can be for a child.
Snuggles – Nobody loves a sick child, but snuggles make things a little better for everyone!
There you have it – these are the doable, simple and incredibly impactful things I do to nurse my children from sickness to health when they’re fighting a bad bug. So next time your little one starts to feel ill, stay calm and remember that you’re prepared and ready to help him or her come through it – quickly and completely!