General Measures For Managing Acute Childhood Illness Or Infection

  • Fresh air – open the window, during mild weather, lie outside if you can. At night, make sure that the window is open even if only a little.
  • No dairy produce – no milk (including soya) yoghurt, cheese, eggs until well on the mend. Dairy increases mucus, upsets stomachs and may increase fever.
  • Plenty of clear fluids – for example, water with Rescue Remedy, half diluted apple juice. Ginger (fresh root grated or chopped, one good pinch), honey (2 tsp) & lemon (1/4 squeezed) in a mug plus boiling water, stir & sip hot, stock. Ginger helps to sweat the fever OUT unlike paracetamol and ibuprofen which reduce fever but push it IN, often making the illness last longer.

If squash, make sure it contains no aspartame or saccharin. No orange juice.

Fluids are best taken frequently, small frequent sips are more useful than  occasional large gulps , especially if there is vomiting.

  • No food unless hungry – this is VERY important.

Do not force yourself to eat if you are not hungry. When any fever is down, and you are hungry have light food – starch, minimal fat chew it well, for example:

− peeled sliced apple.

− wholemeal toast scraped with Marmite or honey

− mashed potato made with cooked potato, boiling water and a pinch of salt,

− vegetable soup, home made, hot tomato juice with a squeeze of lemon +/- a little Tabasco (for adults and older children)

− fruit or cooked vegetables

− all in very small quantities

  • Honey on a teaspoon is very good for sore throats and stops harmful bacteria from multiplying. (Government Health Warning: not for infants less than 1-year of age)
  • REST – this is extremely important most adults only get infectious diseases because they are tired and need a rest – f they had a rest first, they probably wouldn’t get the infection.
  • Loose clothing – made of soft, natural fibres.
  • No TV/ computer/ books – Listening is OK, so radio is OK, no iPod plugged into ears.
  • Room temperature – between 15ºC and 18ºC
  • No meat, fish, fatty food or dairy until two days after better; up to a week if after diarrhoea and vomiting. If dairy or normal diet is introduced and symptoms start again, especially after diarrhoea and vomiting, go back to fasting or light diet until symptom free.

© Dr Jayne LM Donegan 2009

The information herein does not replace the need for medical advice where appropriate.

From: Nursing Children Supportively Through Acute Illness – A Practical Guide, Available to download or order by post at

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