(This will be seething rant from soapbox. You’ve been warned.)
Emma actually started gaining weight. She gained a whole pound in just under 2 weeks. This was HUGE for her! I was beyond thrilled.
The feedback from all the “failure to thrive testing” was that she wasn’t growing because she had been sick for so long. Her poor little body was so busy fighting infection after infection, that it didn’t have the energy to grow, too.
Now, I know that I am a germaphobe. I wash my hands so much that I get rashes from my skin being too dry; I carry a mini can of Ly.sol with me wherever I go, and I am addicted to clo.rox wipes. I use these items to clean shopping cart handles, ATM buttons, public diaper changing stations (and then use my own mat), and pretty much any other item that seems to come in contact with a lot of other people’s hands. I do not consider myself paranoid. The fact is that it’s not paranoia if the threat is real. And yet, with all my cautiousness, we keep getting sick. How, you ask? Read on.
We are having one of the worst years recorded for respiratory infections. I am not assuming. I have been told this by multiple doctors. Their advice? Wash your hands and avoid contact with sick people. If you are sick, STAY HOME!! You’d think this advice was a no-brainer, but apparently it’s rather difficult for people. Being the super-helpful person that I am, I have created a list of helpful tips to help the public at large understand more clearly.
TIP #1: Do not send your sick children to school! If they have had a fever within the last 24 hours THEY ARE STILL CONTAGIOUS regardless of how they “seem”. You aren’t doing ANYONE any favors by sending your child back to school too soon, especially since kids suck at covering their mouths and remembering to wash their hands.
Remember that if you do choose to be a total asshole and send your kids to school when they are sick, it is not just their classmates and teacher you are exposing this illness to. It’s their WHOLE FAMILY! There are 26 students in Lucy’s class. If someone comes to school sick, they have the potential to get 108 people sick, just in that class (assuming a family size of 4). Not to mention the other kids that your child comes in contact with at lunch/recess. I know that not everyone will get sick, but there is usually a huge break-out when even one child is ill at school.
But what about those parents that can’t miss work to stay home with their sick kid? Honestly? It’s part of the “parent package”. Kids come first. Plain and simple. Do whatever you do during winter recess, summer vacation, or any other occasion when school is not in session but work still is. Find a babysitter. Call in that favor from your sister/aunt/cousin/neighbor/mom. It is not okay to ask my children (or anyone else’s) to sacrifice their health so that you don’t miss a day of work.
TIP #2: Stay away from family gatherings. Nothing makes me more mad than when I show up to a family dinner or birthday party and someone in my family has brought their sick kids. Really? If you knew your kids were sick, the very least you could have done was let me know ahead of time so that I could choose to stay home.
If you do bring your kids because they are “just getting over” something (*eyeroll), and you decide that they are well enough to tolerate a visit to grandma’s – bring your own toys. Don’t let your child drool/cough/sneeze all over the shared pile of grandma’s toys. Some studies have shown that cold and flu viruses can live on hard surfaces (rubber/plastic included) for 48 hours. Sometimes longer.
TIP #3: Wash your hands AND your baby’s hands with soap and water. Trust me, I know that this is tough. Holding an infant with one hand and washing with the other is no small feat. But really, there is no better way to protect your child. Sure, you could use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, but do you really want that in your child’s mouth? I don’t know about your kid, but Emma sure does suck on her fingers a lot. Remember that you have to wash the right way! Simply putting soap on skin and running it under water doesn’t do the trick. You must use warm water, and the soap must be on your hands (or babies) for at least 60 seconds. Sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” while you scrub, or even the “Happy Birthday” song. Both work just fine, and help to keep your child calm while your rub down their chubby little fingers.
Really, that’s all I got. It’s pretty simple really.
Well, at least I think it’s simple. And yet, Emma is sick. AGAIN.
This past weekend, I went to a get-together with my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws. Within the first 1/2 hour, one sister-in-law mention that my nephew had had a fever but that he “seemed fine” now – He just wasn’t hungry. Then, my niece – the one who is obsessed will all things Emma (usually really cute!), began showing off her nasty cough/runny nose combo. Her mom, my sister-in-law, actually looked at me at one point and asked, “how ya doin’ with all this?”, knowing I was freaking out about the germs.
She has been the worst. Once, she actually lectured me for nearly 45 minutes because she felt that I was being ridiculous for keeping my kids home when other people were sick. Her opinion is that since I am not actively exposing my kids to these viruses, I am not giving their immune systems a chance to develop properly to fight infections when they are sick. My opinion? Bullshit. Poor Emma has been sick so often that her little body can’t even recover fully before she is sick again. Obviously, she is still coming in contact with viruses even with all of my precautions. I can’t completely protect her. It isn’t possible. But to actually, purposely, expose Lucy and Emma to illness is ridiculous.
I am not telling anyone to be paranoid. I am asking people to use common sense. I am tired of my baby paying for your lack of common sense and courtesy. My baby, who will be 7 months old on Saturday, is the size of an average 3 month old because there are people around her that are too selfish to do the right thing.
I guess I will just stay home. I can’t trust people (especially family) to keep their sick germs to themselves.