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Vomit, Cough, Bleed, Poo

Dad I Don't Feel Well. Sick kids aren't fun. Coughing and snot are not things I like to deal with

sick child

Being woken up in the middle of the night with a vomiting child or waking up the morning to find your child burning hot, coughing madly, having green snot oozing from their nose or ejecting rusty water from behind is never fun, never. The younger the child, the more you seem to panic, which makes sense, since younger children are more susceptible to complications from illness.

You may already have a child with a diagnosed condition like epilepsy, diabetes, anaphylaxis or some other unpleasant ailment that you already contend with and manage on a daily basis, but let’s look at those other sicknesses, injuries and illnesses that come along from time to time. How to be prepared, what to do, and what things to have on hand in every dad’s first aid box.

Of course if you’re ever unsure, you’ll need to seek medical assistance. Hospital/Emergency department for serious issues, a doctors appointment for non-emergencies or a pharmacist for advice on medications and products to relieve symptoms.

first aid kit

First Aid Kit

Every home should have one, in fact probably two so you can keep one in the car. It’s pretty straightforward as you can buy ready made first aid kits everywhere.

There are some online places that sell specific first aid kits for families, which seem a bit expensive since you can get similar products from pharmacies, homeware stores or Amazon for a fraction of the cost. Have a look around and see what the best value for money kits you can find. The basics you should expect to have in a first kit which can be used to treat injuries include:

  • Adhesive bandages (various sizes)

  • Sterile gauze pads

  • Adhesive tape

  • Antiseptic wipes or solution

  • Antibiotic ointment

  • Tweezers (for splinter or foreign object removal)

  • Scissors

  • Disposable gloves

  • Instant cold packs

  • Antihistamines (for allergic reactions)

  • Calamine lotion (for skin irritations)

  • Hydrocortisone cream (for minor rashes or insect bites)

  • Oral rehydration solution packets (to treat dehydration)

  • Aloe vera gel (for minor burns or sunburns)

  • Medical adhesive tape

  • Triangular bandages

  • Safety pins

  • CPR face shield or mask

  • Emergency contact information (including phone numbers of doctors, poison control, and emergency services)

Quite the list I’m sure you’ll agree, but you should find that most of the pre-packed first aid kits you can get already contain most or all of these items.

tissues and mug

Good Meds to Have on-hand

First aid kits have the equipment you’ll need for physical injuries and are portable enough for the home, car or camping trips. You will also, however, need a bunch of other products to deal with those day to day sicknesses, coughs, sore throats, fevers and minor pains that come and go.

These include items such as:

  • Thermometer (there are many digital ones available that can take temperature from the mouth, ear, forehead, armpit or even up the place where the sun doesn’t shine starting at prices from $15)

  • Painkillers/Paracetemol - generally liquid form for kids under 12 or tablets for older kids

  • Ibuprofen/anti-inflamatory liquids or tablets

  • Antidiarrheal medicine

  • Cough medicine

  • Decongestant tablets, spray or liquid

  • Throat lozenges or sore throat spray

When you walk into a pharmacy you’ll find a brightly lit wall of over marketed products. This mountain of sprays, tablets and liquids can be daunting for the single dad, but that’s ok as a pharmacist will be able to guide you and suggest the right products for your needs. That’s right, they do more than spend half an hour putting tablets in a bag. Many of the products might look different but have similar ingredients and your pharmacist will know best.

Know When to Act

You can generally tell if your child is sick enough to stay home from school but not sick enough to book a GP appointment for. A simple cold requires things like paracetemol for pain and temperature control, cough medicine and some form of decongestant. If it’s a bit more serious than a sniffle then seek out your GP. If your child has green snot running out of their nose or a high temperature then keep them home to not infect everyone else, they need rest.

Most schools have a policy on not attending school with head lice or school sores unless treated and the pharmacy will have products for this too.

taking child's temperature with ear thermometer

Not a Doctor

I’m not a doctor, and if you’re reading this article you’re probably not either. My aim is to point you in the right direction, have some basic supplies on hand and not panic at those day to day ailments. So don’t try and re-set those broken bones yourself and by contrast don’t phone an ambulance for a grazed knee.

Make sure you know some basic first aid skills in an emergency like CPR, dealing with burns, sterilising and dressing a wound or what to do if your child is choking until help arrives:

There are plenty of places to get this information or take a course and I recommend you upskill yourself accordingly. Here are some great links to get you started, but google ‘First Aid every parent should know' if you want even more options.

sick teddy bear

Need to Know

If in doubt, get it checked out. Always know where your nearest GP, walk in clinic, hospital and extended hours pharmacies are. Having on hand the number for the out of hours home visit doctor is also advisable.

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As with any of my articles and posts, feel free to contact me with feedback or other ideas about things you'd like to see on my site.

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