Tuesday, September 20, 2022

T.T.: Non-Medicinal Comfort

We just went through the first illness of the school year. It was just a cold, and everyone had it with varying degrees of sore throat and congestion.

It was nothing major, but it always feels major to a child. They don't really get the concept of stoicism. The younger they are, the less stoic they are, and the more insistent they are that I should just fix it. I should do something. Even though, in the case of a cold, there really isn't much to do other than wait for it to go away.

However, over the past decade or so of dealing with ill children, I have discovered a bunch of things I can do to make them feel better, at least temporarily. 

1) A hot bath. Are you congested? Have a hot bath. Do you have a headache? Have a hot bath. Have you had a hard day and are feeling a little emotionally delicate? Have a hot bath. Have you been doing mad dog drills (don't ask--I didn't) at football practice every day and every single part of your body is sore? Have a hot bath with Epsom salts.

2) The heated sheep. This is one of those microwaveable heated bags filled with rice or something. We got ours many years ago from my sister-in-law. She got it for us because it is in the shape of a sheep, but let me tell you, that thing is invaluable. 

A well-loved heatable sheep is a wonderful thing.

Any child with a sore neck or an upset stomach gets the sheep to curl up with. An actual heating pad works, too, but the sheep has the advantage of not having a cord. Plus, it's fuzzy and in the shape of a pillow, and is therefore much more comforting than a hard, flat, plastic bundle of wires.

3) Honey water. For sore throats. This is the lazy mom's answer to tea. Kids don't really want to drink actual tea, anyway, so why bother. They just want the honey. So I just put hot water in with a spoonful of honey, stir around to dissolve the honey, add a few drops of lemon juice to cut the sweetness just a little, then top off with a bit of cold water so they don't burn their mouths. I make SO much honey water when there is sickness in our house. It's one of the reasons I bought a 12-pound bucket of honey.

4) A steam tent. For those awful, dry, barking coughs. Also sometimes for congestion. All you need is a bowl of hot water on the table, scoot the sickling up to the table in a chair, and drape a thin blanket over the top to trap the steam. A couple of my children hate this, but a couple of others request it when they don't feel well. A really hot shower would do the same thing, but young children do not enjoy scalding hot showers. 

5) Soft foods. When you've got a sore throat and you're so congested that chewing interferes with breathing, soft foods are the way to go. Custard requires no chewing at all. Rice pudding doesn't really, either. My children's favorite sick soup is a potato soup, which I usually make with bacon, onion, carrots, potatoes, and rooster stock, cooked and pureed and finished with sour cream. Even easier is mashed potatoes with grated cheese stirred in. A lot of soft food tends to be sweet, so potatoes are a good option for a soft but more substantial food that feels more like a meal. Scrambled eggs with cheese are good, too.

What non-medicinal options do you use when you're feeling poorly?


Anonymous said...

When daughter was young and had a headache (or was just plain cranky and needing to chill out enough to rest) I relied on what I called:

The medicine cloth.

Dampen a washcloth with warm water, wring it out, fold and place on forehead.

Worked everytime.

Oh, and for upset tums a peppermint Altoid usually did the trick.

Placebo effect. Sometimes it's pretty darn effective.

Happy Tuesday everyone.

mbmom11 said...

I tell them to have a drink of water (except in the case of stomach viruses). Some kids don't drink enough, so sometimes water helps a bit. (As I spent $$$ in the spring to get xrays for my son's abdominal pain when it was just constipation due to dehydration, I will go to water first!) They usually chose to lie down on my bed, watch cartoons, and sip some ice water.
My mom's method for small illnesses was ginger ale and saltines while watching TV. Also, gentle back rubs or pats - comforting . (My dad had hands like shovels, so he was great at this.)

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Anonymous: I love your name for the cloth. It makes it sound so effective. :-)

mbmom11: I laughed at your description of your dad's hands, but that's such a nice memory.

JP2GiannaT said...

Watered down electrolyte solution with ice for all ages.

For babies, I sit in a warm shower with them. Something about the water and cuddles takes the edge off of most things (and it's an easy place to clean up after they barf all over you).

And we usually make chicken soup in the crockpot because it's easy and mild.