How to Keep One Twin Healthy When the Other is Sick

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - May 31, 2017

One of the challenges with twins is that they get sick. Sickness doesn’t always strike both twins simultaneously. Your twins will catch a cold, get the flu, have a stomach bug, or come down with any number of other contagious illnesses. This brings up the question: how do you keep one twin healthy when the other is sick?

Sick Baby Girl

Is it Worth it?

Every time one of our twins get sick, we have to ask ourselves: does it matter if the other kids get sick too? Is this one of those colds or stomach bugs that they’ll get eventually anyway? Does this “build their immunity”?

These are very subjective questions and the answers really depend on your parenting style. Generally speaking in our house, if the child doesn’t have a fever, we aren’t too concerned if the other kids catch it.

That said, when in doubt, always give your pediatrician a call.

Separate Them

Keeping your twins from spreading their germs is an almost impossible task. When your twins are infants, you can’t teach them good health habits and they can’t take care of themselves.

Toddlers and older kids don’t always practice good hygiene, will forget to cover their coughs and sneezes, and tend to do a poor job washing their hands.

If you want to improve your odds of preventing the spread of the illness, you could isolate your sick twin in his or her room. Avoid sharing clothes, toys, towels, kitchen supplies, etc. that the sick twin uses.

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Think Sanitation

Keeping your whole family healthy starts before anyone gets sick. Teach your twins good practices like how to effectively wash their hands. We like to have our kids sing “Happy Birthday” twice while scrubbing their hands so they know they washed long enough.

Teach your twins to cough or sneeze into a tissue or into their elbow or sleeve. They should never sneeze or cough into their hands.

Keep Yourself Healthy

While caring for your sick twin(s) make sure that you do everything you can to stay healthy. Eat well, get your rest, and wash your hands.

(RELATED: Your twins will need a lot of gear. Here's the complete twins baby registry checklist to get ready for your twins' arrival.

If you get sick on top of having to care for sick kids, things will get really tough. The best sick times in our family are when my wife and I take turns being sick. This way there is always a parent available to carry the load while the other recovers.

Picture by Kourtlyn Lott

Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

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