A Nurse’s Guide On How To Survive The Flu With Your Kids

Let me paint a very real picture for you. You and your baby BOTH have the flu. You’re alone with no help, and you haven’t slept in 2 days. Your baby is running a fever, screaming bloody murder, projectile vomiting (exorcist style) all over the walls of your house, diarrhea has somehow ended up in your hair, and now YOU'RE projectile vomiting all over your screaming child. Yes people, this is a true story. This is Motherhood. Its raw, its beautiful, and it's messy. I may be a R.N. but Nursing school did not prepare me for this. I'm going to give you some survival tips I wish I had before entering this terrifying alternate universe. Here it goes:

1. Ask for Help

This is where being a kind human pays off. We all have somebody right? Partners, Grandparents, Godparents, friends, neighbors, coworkers... I don't care who it is...ask for help! Now, if you truly have no one, splurge and get a babysitter, seriously. Even if it's 2 hours - it WILL help. You are going to need a break Mama. Even a small break to shower, drink some coconut water, and take a nap. These things are crucial to your survival. It's near impossible to take care of yourself when you’re taking care of sick kids. 24/7 is a long shift people. Get help when and where you can. If your best girlfriend has kids and you don't want to expose her, ask her to drop off some soup and medicine at your door and then run for her life. Don't be prideful and don’t feel guilty...ask for help!

2. Saline, saline, saline !

Did I mention Saline? Let me share a hard learned lesson with you. When kids get sick and have congestion, vomiting, or have been crying all day, mucus builds. Tiny humans don't have the ability to blow their nose or cough up mucus like adults do. What happens when the mucus doesn't get flushed out? Glad you asked… it builds up in the back of their throat and can travel up to their ear drum and turn into an ear infection! The only thing worse than sharing the flu with your baby is having it turn into an ear infection. Then you’re back at the Doctor's office, your kid is on antibiotics, and the World is over as you know it. Saline helps prevent tragedies people. I know it's not fun to squirt saline up their nose, but it's worth it! #SalineSavesLives

3. Essential Oils

As a crunchy Mama and a personal lover of doTERRA products, let me tell you what helped us. I keep an essential oil diffuser on Sages nightstand, and I diffuse doTERRA “serenity” blend every night. This is a combination of Lavender, Marjoram, Chamomile, and Ylang Ylang. I swear by it. I diffuse it for nap time, bedtime, or if she is just needs a little zen in her life. It works! If the little one is having any respiratory problems like a stuffy nose or cough, I diffuse a doTERRA respiratory blend called “Air.” It’s is a combination of Laurel Leaf, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemon, Cardamom, Ravintsara, and Ravensara. Think, Vicks Vapor Rub in the air around you! Now, if the little one has an ear infection I use Melaleuca (Tea Tree oil.) Get creative with your oils girls! Don't just diffuse one, mix and match! Are they having trouble sleeping because they are suffering from an ear infection and a stuffy nose? Mix all 3 in that diffuser! I always put 5 drops of each individual oil in the diffuser. Get that tea tree oil and rub it along their jaw line if they have an ear infection. Massage that serenity blend on their feet before bedtime and put little socks on afterwards to seal it in. Oils get absorbed through feet very quickly! Take that respiratory blend and rub it on their chest, get crazy! A diffuser and all of these oils can be found on Amazon with free 2 day shipping! #MomLife

4.Humidifier

Use it in every room, all day, everyday. No explanation necessary. Moving on.

5. Keep everyone hydrated-including yourself Mama!

What's worse than feeling like you’re dying and trapped in a house with a sick baby you ask? Doing all of that in the hospital because your kid got dehydrated! Now you're off to the Emergency Room to get an IV in your poor baby so they can get fluids. Not only are we talking thousands of dollars, but you know how hard it is to get that diaper on your toddler? Imagine a giant needle! Then imagine they need to sit still for 4 hours while they get IV fluids. Nothing worse, seriously. Just avoid this dark realm at all costs. I don’t care what they are drinking as long as it is fluid! Coconut water - fantastic. Pedialyte - love it. Juice - great. Almond Milk - awesome. Seriously, this is the time to splurge and let sugar be an acceptable form of nutrition. Whatever they will drink - give it to them! For us, it was pedialyte and coconut water. These fluids are packed with electrolytes and will help prevent your child from becoming dehydrated even better than water will. They also have sugar in them so they taste amazing! Your child is more likely to consume more fluids when they are tasty. If they won’t take pedialyte or coconut water, try juice. Everyone loves juice, EVERYONE. Now if your little one can’t hold down any liquids try making homemade popsicles out of coconut water or you can buy Pedialyte freezer pops, every target has them!

6. Sleep when your kids sleep

This is a big one, and a hard one for most of us Moms. When our kids rest we have this instinct to cook and clean… not a useful instinct when you’re sick. Let the house go Mama, seriously. Your house does not need to look like the cover of Martha Stewart Living while your home is temporarily acting as an infirmary. No one cares about that mess except you, and you can deal with it later. The stacking piles of dishes and laundry aren't going anywhere, I promise. You need to rest. Sleep is one of the biggest contributing factors to immune systems. If your low on zzz’s you’re more likely to get sick. The more rest you get, the quicker you will heal. The second you get your kids down, chug some coconut water and pass out, this is a must!

7. Screens are OK!

I know there is an endless amount of Mom shaming surrounding the “screen time” debate. I wont get into that, but I will tell you that wherever your beliefs lie, when it comes to a sick kid - USE SCREENS. It's a distraction from pain and discomfort. If you’re one of those Mamas who NEVER allows screen time, that's great, but when they are sick throw that out the window. They are miserable and they can’t tell you about it. Putting on their favorite shows will not only distract them and make them feel better, it will also make your life a LOT easier. Instead of wrestling a screaming child all day long who just can't get comfortable or stop crying, you may find moments of peace and quiet. Moments where you can go vomit and cry alone in the bathroom, lol. It's just a few days and no permanent damage will be done, I promise.

That’s all of my advice Mamas! I will leave you with a Mantra: You are an amazing Mom, this WILL end, you will be stronger for it, you are loved, you are appreciated, you are a superhero. Now go tie that puke stained towel around your neck and wear it proudly! You’re a superhero to everyone around you, including your kids. You got this Mama!

Meredith Johnson