The Single Parent’s Guide to Surviving Cold and Flu Season
Children are little germ magnets. There's just no getting around it. Once cold and flu season hits, every parent — single or partnered — feels the impending doom. It's not a matter of if; it's a matter of when. If you're lucky, you might get away with a regular head cold. If you're not, you might end up passing strep or rotavirus through every person in the house. Here's how to cope when the sickness comes to your door.
Get in front of it
It's true for sports and handling sick kids: the best offense is a good defense. As soon as you get that paper from school letting you know strep is going around, it's time to step up the handwashing game and review coughing and sneezing techniques. Now's also the time to cut back on the fast food. Instead, increase the veggies and fruits while also focusing on good, whole proteins. Make sure both you and your children are getting enough sleep since too little lowers the immune system. And try some supplements. Elderberry syrup is a powerful antiviral and immune supporter. Bonus: elderberry syrup is also safe for children.
Always be prepared
Whether or not you were a girl scout, “Be Prepared” is certainly your motto as a single parent. Kids have a special knack for getting sick at the most inconvenient times — projectile vomiting on the way to the school play, anyone? So keep your sick supplies well stocked. The last thing you want to do is take a toddler with diarrhea into Target to get meds. At the very least, you want these essentials on hand at all times:
- Cough syrup
- Cough drops
- Pedialyte or Gatorade
A good rule is to make sure you always have at least one full-size spare. So when you open the next-to-last bag of cough drops, put it on the list for the next grocery run.
While you may not have a partner, now's the time to call on friends and family if possible. True, they may not be able to come take care of the kids so you can get a break. But they might be able to run to the store for some OJ or drop off chicken soup at the door. At the very least, a phone call with another healthy adult can remind you that the real world is still out there and help you keep that last bit of sanity intact.
Good luck out there during cold and flu season!