My daughter Risa just completed the 10-day treatment of antibiotics required for Strep throat. When I was a kid, the Strep test meant a doctor would shove a Q-tip down your throat, swish it around while you tried not to barf up your toast from breakfast, and then send you home, saying "We should have the results back from the lab in a few days." And then you'd wait and wait, either at home zoning out on TV reruns of "The Love Boat," or heading back to school and thereby infecting the rest of your class.
So I was shocked when the nurse practitioner did the Q-tip test on Risa, and said “I’ll be back in five minutes.” Sure enough, she returned with the (bummer) results five minutes later, called in the prescription to the drugstore, and told us Risa could return to school just 24 hours after that first dose. Amazing!
What also helped immensely was having lozenges on hand when Risa's sore throat kicked in earlier that week. No one wants to make the haul to CVS at midnight, which is when the sore throat always seems to erupt. Then you have to play "Odds or Evens" with your partner to see who's putting on pants and making the hellish trip. If you're a single parent, you have to get your moaning, crying kids dressed and make the shlep with them. So I was grateful, while researching for I Love Mondays, to learn what to stockpile in my medicine cabinets ahead of time to avoid this scene.
Here's what you need: grape-flavored chewable fever reducers, a child’s pain-reducing medicine, allergy medicine, thermometer, and Pedialite. Stock up on extra tissues and cough drops (for kids old enough to suck on them). I also recommend purchasing—when you do not need it—a metal-wire comb for lice (get the one where the comb teeth are corkscrew, trust me). Keep ginger ale, popsicles, soup, and crackers in the house for recovering post-flu bellies.
Note: If you want to stockpile in full, avoiding almost all trips to the drugstore this year, check out Parenting.com's more extensive list.
I am a journalist, filmmaker, author, wife, and mom to an 8-year-old daughter. My most recent project is I Love Mondays: And other confessions from devoted working moms. Other projects explore raising only children, happily ever after, raising strong girls, and hot topics for Jewish women.
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