Medically-fragile kids with the flu is a scary combination as guest blogger Kimberly Drew knows. Today she shares 3 tips that kept her children with compromised immune systems home after they contracted influenza. If the flu hits at your house, they might do the same for you.
Despite our efforts to avoid it, our house was hit with the flu this winter. It caught us unprepared and we scrambled to get by while doing our best to care for one another. With two children with significant special needs and another child with asthma, it was a difficult time. Here are some things that helped us stay out of the hospital with our vulnerable few.
Tip #1 for Medically-Fragile Kids with the Flu
Hydration. Both our daughters with cerebral palsy (CP) find it difficult to eat and drink on regular days. If you add in illness of any kind, hydration can become a monumental challenge. Pedialyte has what’s needed but tastes terrible. I have found that alternating juice and water does the job just as well. The trick is consistency because dehydration can lead to vomiting, and you have to stay ahead of it. If the girls are refusing to eat or drink, I simply give them fluids from a 10 ML syringe every twenty minutes and increase the amount as they tolerate it. I place the syringe back by the molars and somewhat in the cheek and push in a little at a time like when giving liquid meds. The trick is to keep at it every 15 to 20 minutes until they will use a cup or straw. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me and keep the liquids in a cup nearby.
Tip #2 for Medically-Fragile Kids with the Flu
Help. As soon as I go into constant care mode, I call someone to bring a meal or order us a pizza. Our church has a great network for this. If you don’t have that kind of support system, I strongly encourage you to set one up for yourself. Find five family members or friends ready be on “meal duty” when you need it. This simple act takes a big chunk of time and energy off you so that you can care for your children. There are a thousand ways an extra set of hands can come in handy: someone to sit with your other children so you can get your medically-fragile kids with the flu into a steamy bathroom, or to pick up a prescription to name a few. So don’t be too shy to ask for help.
Tip #3 for Medically-Fragile Kids with the Flu
Honesty. We can all agree that having your children hospitalized is rarely good, so call the after-hours line for your pediatrician or specialist if you’re not sure what to do. Our kids’ physicians are more than happy to offer extra tips to keep them home. Our son with asthma had some very difficult nights these last few weeks, but the on-call pulmonologist helped keep me calm and on top of what he needed. While we can’t control everything, the second set of eyes on situation can really make a difference, especially when we parents are tired and worried!
I hope you don’t find yourself in need of these tips this winter. But if you do, I want to tell you that you can do this! Before you know it, spring will be here and these flu germs will be a bad memory! Stay strong and keep pushing forward.
Kimberly grew up and went to college in the small town of Upland, IN. She graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Elementary Education in 2002. While at TU, she married her college sweetheart and so began their adventure! Ryan and Kimberly have three amazing kids on earth (Abigail, Jayden, and Cooper), and a baby boy waiting for them in heaven. Theirdaughter Abigail (Abbey) has multiple disabilities including cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, hearing loss, microcephaly, and oral dysphagia. She is the inspiration behind Kimberly’s desire to write. In addition to being a stay at home mom, Kimberly has been serving alongside her husband in full time youth ministry for almost fourteen years. She enjoys working with the senior high girls, scrapbooking, reading, and music. You can visit Kimberly at her website, Promises and Perspective.
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