Autumn is that dastardly time of year that gives way to cold and flu season. Sick days can be disruptive, no matter who you are. However, there are a few steps you can take now, while everyone’s feeling fine, to prepare your home for a day on the couch with some tissues and a movie.
For the kids
Keep a list of telephone numbers on your phone but also in a handy binder or taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet or on the refrigerator for their pediatrician and the local pharmacy. You’ll also want the number for their school’s attendance call line and any child care providers. (For adults, it’s also good to have your doctor’s number and your boss’ number in the same location so it’s just as simple to retrieve.)
Be prepared to record information a doctor or nurse might need for your child. Years ago when I worked at a residential school, my colleagues and I were taught to monitor a fever by writing down the patient’s temperature and time it was taken. It’s a good practice to get into, because doctors or nurses will find it quite useful when you’re on the phone or at the clinic. I simply use index cards and a pen.
Regularly check and record your child’s weight. Many medications for children base dosage amounts on this information.
Ensure you’ve got a working thermometer in the house. If you use an electric one, it’s a good practice to test the battery twice a year. Daylight Savings Time switches are a good reminder for this.
Multiple boxes of tissues around the house in convenient locations are great to stock up on now. I also love those small, travel-sized packs of tissues. They’re less obtrusive than standard boxes, and easily fit in small spaces (like the car, a bag, and a drawer of the nightstand).
When everyone is feeling better, the work isn’t done. The following are some things to help spreading the germs around the house.
- A few spare toothbrushes so it’s easy to replace the sick person’s toothbrush when he/she is feeling better (especially with things like strep throat)
- Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, the TV remote, cell phone, refrigerator door handle, light switches and so forth
- Wash the sick person’s bed sheets and blankets alone in hot, hot water.
Finally, consider making a “sick kit.” Tuck it away and save it for a stuffy, achy, rainy day.