Keeping Siblings Healthy When One Child Is Sick

by Tara Saltzburg October 24, 2017

Hey There,

When one kid is sick, it can seems like a matter of hours before everyone in the whole house comes down with a virus. Whether it’s a stomach bug, a common cold, or Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, taking care of a sick child is no fun; but taking care of two or more (and a spouse) is a real nightmare. From sleepless nights to missed days of work, short of buying everyone a hazmat suit, here are some things you can do to keep other kids healthy when one child is sick.

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Fight the Good Fight

Some parents give up before they begin. They assume that since one child is sick, the illness has already made its way through the house and they should just throw in the towel now. You may be surprised at how often that's not the case, and a few immediate precautions can make a huge difference.

  • Wash all bed sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and everything else the sick child has touched in HOT water. It’s nice of you to regularly think of Mother Nature, but she’ll give you a pass to use hot water this time.

  • Everything your sick child touches: toilets, countertops, banisters, books, remote controls, phones, and so much more, should be disinfected regularly, at least twice a day. If that seems like a lot of work, get your healthy kids involved (if they're old enough) by giving them a wipe or disinfectant spray.

Wash Hands

Since approximately 80% of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch, it should go without saying that hand washing is an absolute must. Germs can spread like wild fire but you can stop them in their tracks simply by having both the sick child and the well child wash hands regularly.

Experts recommend that the ideal length of time to wash hands is for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” two times. While the brand and type of soap doesn’t matter, the duration truly does.

Throw Away Tissues

Make sure tissues are being thrown out immediately. Leaving them on a bed stand or end table doesn’t do much for preventing the spread of germs.

TRY THIS HACK: Use an empty tissue box as a portable garbage can. That way, the germs are contained and your sick kiddo doesn’t have to get up every 3 minutes to throw a tissue out!

Don't Share

You probably emphasize the importance of sharing all the time, but when it comes to keeping a healthy kid well, they should avoid sharing to prevent spreading germs.

  • Don’t allow kids to share bites of a sick sibling’s food. Instead of sharing from a bag of crackers or a box of cereal, each child should have their own bowl.
  • Don’t share toothpaste! Allow the sick child to use the tube that’s currently open and open a fresh tube for kids who aren’t sick. You may even want to label them accordingly.
  • If a sick child and a healthy child usually share a bathroom, you may want to consider having them use different bathrooms, if your home allows.

It’s that time of year and, realistically, someone is bound to get sick. Do what you can to take precautions, but be prepared for some missed days of school. Truthfully, the only person that really can’t get sick is you, so you may want to consider that Hazmat suit after all.

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XO, Tara