Why My Kids Still Get Outside When They're Sick

Why My Kids Still Get Outside When They’re Sick

Why My Kids Still Get Outside When They're Sick

Mammoth Hot Springs (where we live) is often referred to as a “cesspool”.

Gross, I know, especially when you are imagining the majestic beauty of Yellowstone. But, let me explain: there are a LOT of people that are in and out of this little area. People from all over the world who travel in various ways to get here. They are in close contact with many, many people, and touch a lot of germs. While our family tends to stay out of the high traffic tourist areas, we aren’t immune to being infected by all the usual “stuff” that goes around. In fact, our first winter here was the sickest I have ever been in my life. We kept getting hit over and over by all the “new” germs and illnesses and it had us down and out. Thankfully, we’ve built up some good immunity to it since then.

BUT, it’s flu season. It’s “cold” season. It’s just that time of the year where you are constantly doing your best to dodge one illness or another. And it’s not just here. If you aren’t feeling it yourself, watch the news. It’s always a hot topic come wintertime (how’s that for irony??)

Here’s the trouble – when we are worn out and beaten down, it’s hard to continue getting outside and exercising, even just a little bit. For many, it’s the first thing that goes. As a culture, we expect those who are ill to stay home, to stay inside, and to not venture out while contagious. And for good reason! No one wants to catch your gunk. But, unless my kids are puking, pooping or close to death, they still go outside. 

It  may just be 15 minutes. It often just means some play in the backyard or a walk around the neighborhood (without touching anything, of course). It may be them just sitting in a stroller or wagon and breathing some fresh air while their Daddy or I push them. No matter how we make it happen, they’re out there, because we fully believe that fresh air and a little healthy exercise works wonders to heal a body AND keep healthy kids healthy.


Why bother making the extra effort to get out while sick:

  • Outdoor air is fresher compared to indoor air which is just recirculated, especially during the colder winter months
  • Increased Vitamin D from sunlight helps boost mood AND health, for you AND them
  • Light exercise while sick helps get the heart pumping and the body moving, which helps “clear the fog”
  • It gives everyone a chance to re-set and begin again. Having sick kids can be stressful on everyone – it’s ok to do it for you too!
  • Kids usually rest better after outside time
  • Outside time will not perpetuate illness (save for pollen-induced or respiratory illnesses effected by cold weather)
  • It’s a break from the couch/bed, even if it’s short-lived
  • In general, the outside time that is a part of our daily life keeps them from getting sick (usually) in the first place. And oh I totally just jinxed myself!


How does it work for your family? Do you get out or is it just too hard? Do your kids tend to get everything or do you manage to stay away from it all? Do you get sick while traveling/on vacation?


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13 thoughts on “Why My Kids Still Get Outside When They’re Sick”

  1. I love this post Amelia! I’m usually trying to convince others to take a walk or let their kids outside while sick. My kids love to play and explore, even when they’re not feeling well. Outside also helps them not to think about how miserable they feel (read: they aren’t whining and complaining so much!). It helps give me a break too!

  2. Love the quote: But, unless my kids are puking, pooping or close to death, they still go outside.
    Honestly, last winter, my kid was sick, and he was actually throwing up. We still went outside, lol. BUT, and this is a big BUT, we were away for the weekend at a wilderness cabin and we really didn’t want to travel all the way home with a sick kid in the truck who had already puked all over the back seat! So we went out for a short cross country ski, put our son in a sled, and pulled him along while he slept. He actually had a great nap and we discovered it was a lot easier to have him get sick outside than it was all over the carpet or floor of the cabin.

  3. My kids went out when they were sick and always felt better when they came in. They didn’t always play, sometimes they bundled up and read a book on the back porch, but they got out. As adults they’re still going outdoors when they don’t feel well, and I’m sure they’re children will be out.

    1. Good for you – sounds like you raised some great kids! And yes – I think that even if they don’t choose to play, the fresh air benefits are always still great!

  4. You are so smart. 🙂 Pre-kids, and when it was fairly warm out, I remember laying in my backyard, sipping tea, and soaking some rays whenever I was sick. It doesn’t happen for us every time we get sick now, but I do make an effort to try to get at least a bit of outdoor time. I especially agree with the Vitamin D comment!

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