Our kids need us most when they’re sick. Unfortunately, it’s very easy for parents to get sick while they are caring for a child with an illness. However, catching your child’s illness doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion. There are several things you can do to help prevent spreading the illness to yourself and the other members of your family.

How to Care for Your Kids Without Getting Yourself Sick

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Hand washing

Proper hand washing is always important, but it becomes vital when you’re caring for a sick child. Use plenty of hot water and soap. Regular soaps are fine as long as you use hot water and wash for a while. It is much better to go with a natural hand soap for your family. Antibacterial soaps containing triclosan are endocrine disruptors, may create antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Part of proper hand washing is taking your time. Experts recommend that you sing Happy Birthday through twice to ensure a thorough hand washing. Don’t forget to soap up the backs of your hands as well as your palms and fingers to get any germs that might be hiding there.

While it’s important for you to wash your hands, it is also important to encourage your children to use proper hand washing techniques and to wash their hands frequently. Make certain that everyone washes their hands before and after meals. It also makes good sense for you to wash your hands before and after coming into contact with your child. If your child is still in diapers, be especially careful of hygiene around the diaper changing area.  Doing so helps to ensure that you do not pass along germs or viruses to yourself or other family members. This also means changing hand towels frequently.

Disinfect the bathroom

Disinfect the bathroom daily while your child is sick. It may sound like a lot of work, but it is definitely worth it if it means you don’t share your child’s illness. Change the bathroom towel frequently and consider having your sick child use paper towels instead of a linen towel for the duration of his illness. Paper towels and any facial tissues used by your child should be immediately disposed of in a trash can, preferably one that has a lid to prevent other children from coming into contact with the tissues. If you handle any of your child’s paper towels or tissues, immediately wash your hands afterward and avoid touching your eyes and face.

Keep your space

When you child is sick, she will probably be greatly comforted by having close contact with you. Don’t turn aside from cuddling or sharing a bed, but do establish a few ground rules. If you hold your child, position her head on your shoulder with her face away from you to prevent spreading germs through sneezing and coughing. If your child wants to climb into bed with you, have them lay down facing away from you. Kiss them on the top of the head instead of the cheek and discourage siblings from having close contact, if possible. You can also wear a surgical mask to reduce your viral load. Also air out your space if possible, by opening up a window or getting some kind of ventilation to help reduce germs.

Don’t share food

Meal times can present many opportunities for sharing germs. In order to keep a lid on spreading infections, make certain that you do not share any food directly with your toddler. Prevent siblings from sharing plates, utensils and food. Use paper napkins instead of linen and make sure they are disposed of immediately after use. Take care not to eat any food from your child’s plate and throw away any leftovers to help avoid contamination.

Get plenty of rest and eat healthy

Taking care of child who doesn’t feel well is tremendously hard work. It can sap your strength and leave you feeling run down and, consequently, more susceptible to getting sick yourself. Make a point of getting plenty of rest. If your child goes down for a nap, take a nap yourself to help keep your energy up. Proper nutrition can also help protect you from getting sick. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains and drink fluids regularly. You can also take immune supplements, such as vitamins or zinc elderberry lozenges, to boost your immune system. If you can, try to fit in your usual exercise routine. It will help energize you and keep you feeling stronger.

Be realistic

Above all, do not hold yourself to impossibly high standards when your child is ill. Many sicknesses are contagious before you even know your child is infected and it is impossible to eradicate every germ from your house. Illnesses are an inevitable part of living in a family.

About the Author:

Tom Demers writes for Del-Immune V®, unique probiotic supplements made from the lactobacillus rhamnosus which helps in boosting immune system support.