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Medicine cabinet must-haves

by Nikki Montgomery

When your baby is sick the last thing you want to do is leave them to run to the store for medicine. So keep these things in your medicine cabinet.

  • In case of fevers you will need infant acetaminophen (Tylenol) and a dosing chart because the package doesn't list dosage for children under 2. Your doctor can give that to you.
  • For accurate doses you need a medicine dropper or syringe.
  • Saline nose drops and a bulb syringe. The best way to clear your baby's stuffy nose is with a bulb syringe, sometimes those stubborn noses need a little more help so use saline drops. Just drip a couple drops in each nostril and let it sit for a minute then suck out the gunk. 
  • Digital thermometer. Doctors and nurses used to tell you that rectal temperature is the way to get the most accurate measurement. When we were in the hospital after the twins were born we were surprised to see that the nurses didn't take a single rectal temp and did it under the arm instead. I guess they discovered it's not only easier to take temps that way, but it's pretty accurate too. I much prefer that, I was always afraid to take a rectal temp.
  • If your baby gets a scratch or small cuts. They tend to scratch themselves often with those little sharp nails that grow so fast. Antibiotic cream is a must have.
  • Tweezers specifically used for splinters. They should be sharp and be cleaned with rubbing alcohol.
  • Baby lotion to take care of any flaky or irritated skin.
  • Stuffy babies can benefit a lot from a cold-mist vaporizer or humidifier. You don't need one of the ones that you put medicine in.
  • Pedialyte or something similar in case your baby has diarrhea to keep them hydrated.
There is nothing worse than having a sick baby. Always call your doctor or nurses hotline if your baby has a fever: 
  • Under 3 months old 100.4 degrees
  • 3-6 months 101 degrees
  • Over 6 months 103
  • If your child has an elevated temperature for over 3 days in a row
  • Any fever and sore throat that lasts more than 24 hours
When in doubt call the nurse. It never hurts to call and find out you're being a jumpy parent. It does hurt to not call and find out later that something was really wrong.
Sometimes teething causes cold like symptoms and lots of fussiness and can be accompanied by a low grade fever. These teething fevers aren't even really fevers they're just slightly elevated temperatures around 99 - 100 degrees. If the temp is higher don't write it off as teething your baby is sick.
Meet the doctors and nurses at Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital and Ministry Health Care at ministryhealth.org. Their pediatrics department is fantastic and extremely helpful. I have personal experience with Dr. Hay, Dr. Kasakonis, and Dr. Locher. All of them are wonderful doctors and are open to answering any questions, even the ones we feel dumb asking.
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