“Why am I always sick when we have a break from school?”, the 14-year-old asked me last week.
That’s something I’d like to know, too.
Our whole family has had a rough go of it this winter. How has yours fared? Since January we’ve had 3 with Flu A (the Man and both boys), two hospitalizations (my Dad), a really bad case of Strep A (me)and one case of pneumonia (D2). Can I just say ENOUGH ALREADY??
Last week’s pneumonia was the kicker.
He’d been running a fever for several days and “feeling crappy”, as he said, but nothing he could specifically point to as the culprit. I took him to urgent care on a whim, but a flu swab and a chest x-ray later revealed pneumonia. No flu this time around, thank goodness.
It just stinks. He got it from one of the guys that he grapples with in his JiuJitsu class. So D2 spent all of spring break laying around and sleeping a lot which is okay, but his spring break plans ground to a halt.
No matter how big they get, it stinks having a sick kid.
Especially one who had planned to spend every day of the break riding motorcycles with his friends up in the hills. To say he was disappointed is an understatement. Fortunately, I’ve taught my kids to roll with the things they can’t control. Yes, he had plans. Yes, he was looking forward to them. No, there is nothing he could do but get better. Yes, his friends understood. And besides, he was too exhausted to ride anyway.
Do your kids get sick more or less than what you would expect if they were in school full time?
Normally our family is pretty healthy but this winter has been the worst ever for illnesses! Many of you know that I’m a CNA on the pulmonary unit at our local hospital. I see everything that goes around, constantly. That I’m not sick all the time is amazing, but that’s why we dress up in those lovely yellow paper gowns, gloves, and masks.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and this post is not to be constituted as medical advice. Always see a doctor if you or your child is ill for more than 24 hours or something “just doesn’t seem right.”
7 tips for keeping your family healthy even when others around you are sick:
1. Take your vitamins. The immune system is strongest when all of our nutritional needs are met. Vitamin C and Zinc can really help stave off a cold or help you get over one quickly. Products like Emergen-C can give you a boost just before or after an exposure to someone who is ill.
2. Provide each family member with their own water bottle—one that can be washed easily—and make sure they get washed often. Separate cups works too but if you’re like me, you probably have a set identical cups or glasses and kids aren’t the most discerning in which one they grab from the counter.
3. Wash your hands often. Teach your kids to wash hands after going to the bathroom, handling pets (especially amphibians, reptiles, and chickens), coughing or sneezing into their hands, and before eating. Good hand washing can prevent a lot of illnesses.
4. Replace toothbrushes after an illness. You can run them through the dishwasher or run them through a toothbrush sanitizer, but replacement is best. You should be replacing your toothbrushes every few months anyway. Also do not store toothbrushes together in one cup.
5. Teach and encourage kids to cough and sneeze into their arm/sleeve. Every time.
6. Get a flu shot if you’re able to. I’m not here to get into a discussion on vaccinations. This year’s flu vaccination was effective against the strains that went around. The only people in my house who did not get the flu were my father and me, both of whom had the flu shot. I was exposed to Flu A and B by several dozen patients as well as my family and did not get it.
7. Use sanitizing wipes on the hand-touch surfaces in your house regularly: Door knobs, light switches, handrails on stairs, sink handles, the computer mouse, refrigerator handle, etc.
Common illnesses and how they are spread:
Stomach “flu” or any GI bug involving nausea, vomiting or diarrhea are spread by TOUCH. Good hand washing is your best defense when you’re caring for a vomiting child. Bleach kills GI germs and alcohol-based sanitizers DO NOT. Stick with the bleach wipes and good hand washing here.
Pneumonia, Influenza A/B ( the REAL FLU), common cold, and bronchitis are respiratory illnesses that can produce fever, chills, body aches or coughing. The droplets from coughing/sneezing carry the germs. Cover the mouth when sneezing or coughing, stay out of public places (or wear a mask if you must go!) and wash hands often. Sanitize surfaces the sick person has touched or possibly coughed on.
Chicken pox and shingles are airborne and are the same virus. You need only be in the same space—as in an elevator, a store or house, car, etc. to catch or spread this. If someone has chicken pox, please keep them home. Shingles too can be passed and will give a non-immune person chickenpox (not shingles). My daughter got shingles when she was 8 and gave her little brothers chickenpox!
How was this year for your family? Did you get by without an illness, or did the germs hit your house hard?
This parenting thing can be tough! Here are some other posts that may interest you:
- The Endless Succession of Small Things
- Self-Care for the Homeschool Mom
- Gun Control and Kids
- Grace, Kids, and Outward Appearances
- What Every Parent Should Know about Incense (Synthetic Marijuana)