It happens every year — one of the kids comes home from school with sniffles and by the end of the week, the whole family is coughing and feeling miserable. Taking care of yourself and your family when you’re sick can be challenging and frustrating. You’re busy caring for everyone else — and as a result, you’re not resting so you can feel better. At Reynolds Memorial Hospital, we understand the difficulty of caring for sick children when you don’t feel great yourself. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to caring for yourself and family when sickness strikes — from self-care to seeing a doctor in Wheeling or Glen Dale, WV.
Drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated is crucial to recovery. It aids in breaking up mucus and congestions and helps keep your throat moist. Water is the best option, but unsweetened tea and electrolyte drinks can be helpful too.
Hot liquids, like herbal teas can be helpful too as they can reduce inflammation in the throat and nose. Adding honey to the tea can increase the soothing effect on the throat.
It can be helpful to keep moisture in the air too — if you have sharp pain in your throat when you swallow, it may be due to dry air. A humidifier can bring welcome relief. Most pharmacies will carry humidifiers ranging in size and price. Select one that will work for your room size and make sure it stays full of clean, cool water.
It’s common to lose your appetite when you’re sick, although it’s important to make sure you’re giving your body energy to fuel the battle against the virus or bacteria that is making you ill. If you’re not feeling hungry, try to eat more frequent small meals full of nutrient dense foods.
Whole Grains: whole wheat toast and oatmeal
Fruit: especially vitamin-C rich citrus and antioxidant rich berries
Vegetables: perhaps in chicken soup, which also gives you a serving of lean protein
Healthy Fats: like an avocado — provides fiber and potassium
Lean Protein: chicken, turkey, pork etc.
When feeling miserable and sick, it’s easy to want to eat junk food. Remember that nutrients will help your body recover and get you back on your feet faster.
When we’re ill, we often get an accompanying fever — especially young children. This is the body’s way of fighting viruses and bacteria as they are temperature sensitive. A warmer environment makes it harder for these infections to thrive. Fevers can cause you to repeatedly feel hot then cold. This is a common symptom — help your body stay warm by using blankets and make sure you’re monitoring fevers.
It’s important to note that there are causes of fevers that are unrelated to infections like a cough or cold. Monitor fevers to ensure that they aren’t getting worse. Call your doctor right away if you or your child has other symptoms like a rash, headache, earache or physical stiffness along with a fever. You know yourself and your child best — follow your instincts and intuition.
Did you know you can request to talk to the pharmacist, even if you aren’t picking up a prescription? Your family pharmacist can help you select the medications that are most appropriate for the symptoms you and/or your family are exhibiting. The most common medications for cough, cold and flu are below:
Mentholated Salve: a tried and true medicine cabinet staple, mentholated salves will help open breathing passages.
Lozenges: while lozenges will not get rid of a cough, they can alleviate symptoms and give temporary relief. Common ingredients include menthol and benzocaine, which numb the throat suppressing the cough.
Nasal Sprays: nasal sprays work quickly to break up congestion and help you breathe more easily. Remember, the tip of the nasal spray must be inserted into the nostril for proper application — it is recommended that each family member have their own spray with their name on it.
Cough Syrups and Pills: there are many different types of cough syrups and pills — this is where your pharmacist can help. The two main types are cough suppressants that provide temporary relief from coughing and expectorants, that break up congestion allowing you to expel phlegm from the body when you cough.
Acetaminophen/Ibuprofen: if you’re suffering from aching and a mild fever, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help. It’s crucial to check that they won’t interact with anything else you are taking. Some cough/cold medications contain acetaminophen, so make sure you aren’t unintentionally taking a double dose.
Seeing a Doctor in Wheeling or Moundsville
If it’s been a few days and you’ve diligently been resting, drinking water and focusing on good nutrition and taking some over-the-counter medicines and you’re still not feeling better — it’s time to see a doctor.
If you have a doctor in Wheeling or Moundsville, call them first — they may be able to see you in a reasonable time frame. But if your doctor doesn’t have an appointment, visit Reynolds Rapid Care. At Reynolds Rapid Care, we can take care of almost any non-emergency condition including x-rays, lab work, EKG, broken bones, fevers, cold/flu, lung function tests, sinus infections, lacerations/cuts and more.
Reynolds Memorial Hospital has served the Moundsville, Wheeling and Glen Dale community for over 100 years. Reynolds Rapid Care makes quality care easy and convenient.