Your child seems listless and rundown, but not actively ill. Her head feels warm to the touch, but you can’t tell for sure if she has a fever or is just tired. You go to the medicine cabinet in search of the thermometer that you haven’t seen in months and tear your bathroom apart in vain trying to find it. So you can’t be sure she has a fever, but you can give her a small dose of fever reducer to see if it makes her feel better. Whoops! That ran out a week ago! Now what?
If this situation sounds familiar, perhaps it’s time to take an inventory of your medicine cabinet and stock up on all those essentials for the kids. Here’s what you should always have on hand:
- Pain reliever/fever reducer. Whether it’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen, be sure you’re prepared for any headaches and fevers that crop up. But be very careful to only administer age-appropriate doses of these medications to your child.
- Cold, cough, flu, decongestant, and allergy medications. Be sure to have those versions of these meds that are specifically made for your child’s age group. Consult your doctor about what’s best and when to treat your child with these products.
- Antiseptics and antibiotic ointments. Cuts and scrapes happen! And they happen quite often with kids, so make sure you’re prepared to clean them properly and prevent infection.
- Saline solution and aspirator. To clear the nasal passageways of kids who are too young to blow their noses.
- Gas relief drops. These drops can make life much better for both you and baby.
- Bandages. Covering wounds is essential to keeping infection out.
- Hot and cold packs. A hot pack will soothe a belly ache and a cold pack is just what the doctor ordered for a bumped head.
- Device for dispensing medicine. A medicine dropper, oral syringe, and calibrated spoon or cup are essential to dispensing the correct amount of medicine to your little one.
- Rubbing alcohol. For cleaning tweezers, scissors, thermometers, etc.
- Tweezers. Great for removing splinters and the like.
- Petroleum jelly. For cracked lips, dry skin, and many other skin ailments.
- A thermometer. Knowing whether a fever is minor or major can tell you whether a trip to the ER is called for.
To find a pediatrician near you for advice on how to care for your child at home, use the Vitals Doctor Finder (www.vitals.com).