As we are in the midst of flu season I can’t help but be amazed by the number of sick kids that show up at school and at playdates. I know we all want to go to playdates so we aren’t trapped inside with our haywire tots, but there is nothing worse than showing up at one or dropping your kids off at school to have them hacked on by their BFF. They don’t care, but I do.
When my daughter was a couple of weeks old my friend brought over dinner for us (so kind) and she brought her daughter to play with my son. At the end of the brief playdate she mentioned that her daughter was coming down with a cold! A cold which my toddler son subsequently caught- I was so mad. Do you know what happens if a newborn catches a cold? They have to be hospitalized and potentially have a spinal tap. This fact the doctors kept making me aware of before we left the hospital after she was born in January – they never mentioned this to me when my son was born in July, which makes sense because flu season is over by then. By only letting my son touch the top of my daughter’s head the bottom of her feet she stayed healthy, so I suppose it wasn’t a huge deal, but it was still annoying and stressful.
I realize most kids have a runny nose that starts in November and doesn’t stop flowing until April. And that is fine, some runny noses are just that- a runny nose. But here are some common sense tips that will help keep us all healthy:
1. WASH HANDS – 100 times a day if possible ok, not really but it is an easy way to get rid of germs – keep a hand sanitizer on hand (especially if you’re traveling in an airport).
2. COUGH/SNEEZE INTO YOUR ELBOW – teach this to your kids as well – there is almost no point in coughing into your hands, you’ll spread your cold just as easily as if you didn’t cover your mouth at all, it just seems more polite.
3. If your child is running a fever – higher than 98.6F – after it breaks wait another 24 hours before they are exposed to others to avoid passing on the bug
4. A runny nose may be fine but if its green and tough to clean, it could be an indication of a bacterial infection so best to wait until it clears.
5. If your child wakes up with a crusty or leaky eye it could be pink eye which is highly contagious and needs to be seen by a doctor – absolutely positively stay home!
At the end of the day, colds are inevitable and actually healthy for your children to get as they help kick start their immune systems to make them more resistant to worse infections (www.webmd.com). But none of us have time to be sick or home sick with our kids, so if we all do our part we can lessen the number of times our houses come down with a cold over the season. Stay warm!