5 Money-Saving Hacks for Moms with Sick Kids


When your little one is sick, sometimes all they need is a bit of rest to be back to their normal, boisterous selves. Other times, it can mean a serious hit to your budget. If you’re looking to save a little cash without sacrificing on care, here are some tips that can help.

Go Generic

When rushing to the local drug store in search of decongestant, fever reducer, or other common childhood medications, you’re often more interested in getting in and getting out than you are in saving a buck. If you find yourself reaching for brand name medications thinking that they’ll work better or faster than their generic counterparts, you may want to think twice. The truth is, generic drugs have the exact same active ingredients as more expensive brand name versions, and they are usually just as effective. The only differences are the inactive ingredients (which have nothing to do with how the medicine works) and the price tag! If you’re not sure which to choose, compare the active ingredients. If you’re still uncertain, ask your pharmacist for advice.

Man holding baby while woman uses DispatchHealth mobile app

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Avoid the ER and Get Care Delivered

What to do if your child is really sick but you can’t get an appointment with their pediatrician? Many parents pack everybody up in the car and head to the local emergency room. But in addition to exposing your little one’s already weakened immune system to lots of new germs, this can be a frustrating and expensive experience. At the ER, it’s not uncommon to spend several hours waiting to see a doctor, as your sick child is exposed to the germs, noise and chaos around you.

There’s a better way for treating non-life-threatening conditions. Remember in old movies and television shows, when a child would get sick and the doctor would come to their home to treat them? Ever wish you could have that kind of medical care available? Now you can. DispatchHealth is bringing back the house call with their team of ER-trained and board-certified caregivers. Just give them a call or order care through their app, and then focus on caring for your child in a more calm, peaceful and comfortable environment – your home! They will communicate with your pediatrician to make sure that your child continues to get well.

Sounds expensive, right? Actually, they accept most insurance and a visit with DispatchHealth typically costs 85 percent less than a visit to the ER.

DIY Ice Packs

When trying to relieve inflammation or injury, an ice pack can be a mom’s best friend. You could just wrap a few ice cubes in a washcloth and place that on the affected area, but since it won’t conform to your child’s body, this tends to be a bit ineffective. In a pinch, a bag of frozen peas or corn will work, but honestly, the best cold packs are those expensive gel-filled ice packs. They’re moldable, stay cold longer than regular ice, and are incredibly handy to have around. But you can also make them yourself with a few ordinary items you probably already have in the house.

All you need is two zipper freezer bags, some rubbing alcohol, and water. In one of the bags, add one part rubbing alcohol for two parts water. Add a few drops of food coloring in your child’s favorite color if you like. Then, seal the bag up tightly, being careful to squeeze out as much air as you can. Make sure you double bag it, to avoid any potential leaks, and pop the whole thing in the freezer. Because rubbing alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water, it will keep the water slushy and moldable no matter how long it sits in the freezer before you use it.

DIY Electrolyte Drinks

If your child is suffering from a stomach bug or a fever, one of the biggest concerns is often dehydration. Doctors usually recommend Pedialyte or other electrolyte drinks, but these can be really expensive, especially if you have more than one sick kiddo to treat. Fortunately, electrolyte drinks are super easy to make at home, and cost much less than commercially made versions.

You’ll need:

  • 4 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ packet unsweetened kool-aid (for flavor – optional)

Just mix everything together and serve it up. The mixture will keep for up to three days in the fridge so feel free to make a bigger batch to keep on hand. And since you can use whatever flavor of kool-aid you like, it’s easy to customize this to your child’s tastes. Note: if you’re treating a child under one year of age, remember to use sugar instead of honey.

Use a Salt Sock for Earaches

Is there anything worse than when your child suffers from chronic earaches? It’s a hard thing for a mom to watch, because we know just how awful it can feel. Fortunately, there’s a quick-acting and simple remedy you can make at home.

Start with a clean, all-white cotton sock. Don’t use colored socks because the dyes can cause the fabric to burn when heated up sufficiently. Carefully pour in a cup of course sea salt, don’t use table salt as it won’t work as well. Knot the sock above the salt, or double knot it to be safe. Warm the salt sock in a clean skillet over medium-low heat for about five minutes. As it’s heating, pick it up and massage the salt around a bit every so often. You want to make sure the salt is evenly heated throughout. It’s done when it’s pleasantly warm, but not burning hot. Place the sock over the painful ear and surrounding jaw area. The combination of heat and salt will help to draw fluid out of the ear, alleviating pain in no time!

The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.

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