You know the lousy thing about winter? One of the lousy things about winter, it's not only cold outside but it's also cold and flu season inside. And here in the good ol' Fraser Valley, it's been damp and cold but not cold enough to kill all the germies floating around.
Like every other person you meet we've had our share of sickness kicking around our house. Starting with Audrey and an ear infection/ cough and ending with Bethany and an ear infection, in the middle both Corey and I wound up with infections and have all been on antibiotics. Awesome!
I understand that it's all part of this time of year, and I am also very grateful that everyone around here has managed to get over their illnesses well, I hung onto it the longest, but we've faired ok, better than many. And I also know that it's impossible to avoid catching something here and there, if you chose to venture outside your home, you chose to expose yourself to the above mentioned germs.
However, I do have a problem with the lack of caution people tend to be showing. While I don't believe in quarantining yourselves every time you sneeze, cough or weeze (if you barf and are not pregnant you ALWAYS STAY HOME!) I do believe in consideration and precautions. And while I believe that being exposed to certain things, germs in stores and while out, help build your immune system, I also believe there comes a time to limit said exposure.
This has really cropped up for me over the past year or so. You see, back when I was working in pharmacy I was exposed to sickos (the germ kind not the whip open your trench coat to expose your salami kind) on an hourly basis. I managed to stay relatively healthy and attributed that to the fact that I was around these illnesses all the time. I only had to spend a few moments around the sick person, then could wash/hand sanitize and carry on. I didn't have to wipe their noses, or suck on a toy that they had just hacked on.
Ahhhh, you say, that's where she's going.
That's right, it's about the kids. Since becoming a parent I am more cautious about who I expose my girls too when they are sick and who is exposed to them when the other kids are sick.
I understand that there are parents who live by the "Exposure theory" at all costs with their kids and rarely stay home when they are sick. These folks believe that by taking their kidlets out they are doing other's a favor by helping to give other children the mild exposure that I used to get at work. These parents carry on, wiping noses when possible and assuming everyone else lives by the same rule.
Problem is, the exposure 4 kids have over an hour is not the same as what I had in 5 minutes in my store. Kids share toys, they put them in their mouths, they wipe their nose on the back of their hand and then share a snack together, or if they are the affection kids, they give a gooey, kiss to a playmate. They don't think to wash their hands every few minutes and cover the mouth when they cough only when they aren't too busy playing to notice. Some don't mind that but some of us do. I don't mind some exposure for my girls but I do want to have control over how much. I can't control who's in Walmart, or if the waitress at Red Robin (oh did I ever have a wonderful dinner there the other night, mmmm) has washed her hands, I can control who is in my home and around my kids. I get down right frustrated with people who don't at least let me know before they arrive that they are sick.
I'm not talking the residule cough of a 3 week cold or the runny nose accompanied by teething. I'm talking about the hacking cough, that wreches your gut from a kid with runny eyes and fever cheeks. It's frustrating, I don't want you around me or my kids. And thinking that you are doing us a favor is nieve.
People who take their sick kids to someone else's home or to daycare, church nursery etc, don't know the medical history of those around them. Some of us have kids who've been really sick, I had a little girl in the hospital for a week, and while it's not an immunity thing that caused her infection she's still waiting on tests to make sure that nothing is wrong and until that time I don't want to compromise her body any more than it's been. I need it kept strong to fight any other issues that may occure.
And for that matter, I like healthy kids, sleep and my own health. I don't want to be sick any more than I want Bethany and Audrey sick.
I don't expect everyone to follow my lead, or to agree with me, but I do hope that they can understand where I'm coming from and respect the rules in our home, like we try to respect theirs.
So, I guess what I want to say is, call before you come over, think before you go out, if your kid is sick let the other parent know. Give them the chance to say, "No, not today, lets reschedule in a week" or "Sure, bring it on!" Maybe if we use a little more caution, things like H1N1 won't become the scare that they've been, maybe not, but it's worth a try.