to the parent with a sick kid

Parenting • Feb 21, 2023

To the Parent With a Sick Kid

Lately, it feels impossible to escape illness and even harder to get rid of it.

Parents, I know the stress you’re under – the stress of trying to protect your child from illness and the stress of caring for them through it. I’ve been there. I AM there too. My family has had influenza, COVID, strep, croup, pink eye, ear infections, and many other viruses in the past six weeks. It has been what feels like a never-ending course of illness.

I want to let you know you’re not alone. We know you’ve tried your best to keep your kiddo healthy. Unfortunately, sometimes, despite doing all the right things, they still get sick. Oftentimes our kids are exposed, and we never know where or from whom they’ve caught something. I know the sometimes helpless and hopeless feeling of caring for your sick children, and I know as a parent how it feels to be tired and run down, and still, our babies need us to press on.

Be reminded children get sick, even despite everything we do to protect them. This respiratory season is hitting hard. It can be confusing to differentiate between viral illness or something else and even more confusing to know if they need care for common symptoms or something more. Even as a provider with my own children, it’s hard to see their illness objectively, and I, too, question: “Is it viral? Is this turning into more? Do they need antibiotics? Do I need to try to ride this out? Has this gone on for too long?”

Parents, be encouraged you are not alone. We will get to the end of this respiratory season. It may require extra caffeine and a lot of grace, but this, too shall pass.

Be further encouraged that we are here to help. Please never hesitate to bring your child in for evaluation when they are feeling ill or exposed to illness. A thorough look-over and testing (if indicated) is helpful in determining how to manage their course of illness. In addition, we can provide you with the tools and resources to help manage their symptoms. As parents, sometimes we also need a little reassurance and encouragement to keep going too.

If your child’s symptoms do not improve with treatment at home, all caregivers should know your preference for which hospital a child should be taken to in case of an emergency. Our Washington University Children’s After Hours locations provide convenient medical care for your child’s illnesses and injuries as a faster alternative to ERs when your pediatrician’s office is closed.

In case of a medical emergency with a child, determine where the nearest accredited, Level I pediatric trauma center is located. St. Louis Children’s Hospital has six pediatric ER locations across the St. Louis and southern Illinois region, including St. Louis Children’s Hospital , Children’s Hospital at Memorial Hospital Belleville , Children’s Hospital at Memorial Hospital Shiloh , Children’s Hospital at Missouri Baptist Medical Center , Children’s Hospital at Northwest HealthCare and Children’s Hospital at Progress West Hospital .