Friday, January 30, 2015

Common Cold, Lice and Flu...Oh My!

Having just recovered from my own bout of the flu I decided this would be a timely topic.

No, I am not going to talk about vaccinations. I am pro-vaccine. I choose to protect my children against diseases any way I can and I feel other people should too, if they are able. That is all I am going to say about that.

What I want to talk about is those nasty little germs that invade our lives on a regular basis.

Classrooms are a Petri dish of germs. With a concentration of 30 kids to a room it is a Herculean task to keep the bugs at bay. Schools should buy stock in hand sanitizer and Lysol. By the way, those are supplies we are very grateful to get because school budgets don't often allow for them. They don't even fill the soap in my classroom on a regular basis! It is even more difficult for classrooms that are portables, and have no sinks, to control the germs.

What we ask of parents is to keep the germs at home, where you can minimize them much easier than we can. If your child has a fever, is vomiting or has diarrhea, please keep them home! These are the obvious signs that your child is contagious. Even if they have perfect attendance, even if they have a test to take, even if they say they feel fine - if they are not free of the three things mentioned above for 24 hours - Keep Them Home!

Side Note: If your child says "I don't feel well" but has no signs of illness, send them to school. Most teachers are happy to keep an eye on them and if they take a turn for the worse we will give you a call!

Now on the other side of the coin, I know it is hard to keep kiddos home when they are sick. If you are a stay-at-home mom it means a change to your routine, which never really goes well for anyone! It means crankiness and crying and cleaning up things that make you sick as well. 

Although...I do tend to enjoy the extra cuddles I get when my kids are sick. This is also when I know they really are sick because they do not like to cuddle!

If you are a working mom then it means taking time off work, which is not easy for a lot of people, or trying to find a babysitter at the last minute - plus there is an added bonus of having all those germs hanging out with you and the rest of your family for the day, which might mean more sick time. Yay!

Whatever your situation is, plan for the inevitable. Kids get sick. Don't let it throw off your Mama Mojo! I am lucky enough to have my mom close by if my kids get sick but I know that is not typically for a lot of people.

One of the biggest challenges for me is the clean up afterwards. Changing all the bed sheets, washing all the laundry, cleaning all those lovies...and don't forget to replace the toothbrushes! All this takes soooo much time. And in the process I am usually picking up enough of those germs to shut down my immune system for a week or so. But as I am sure you know all too well, moms don't get sick days. (BTW, do any of you notice how the whole household goes to hell when mom gets sick?)
Aren't they adorable? Plush Microbes & Bacteria @ 
 On the specific topic of lice: They can be difficult to get rid of. Typically kids can go back to school the next day if they can pass an inspection at the school nurse's office. Whenever we have a lice case at my own school we check the whole class to make sure it hasn't spread. (Makes me itchy just thinking about it!) Make sure that you bag up all your child's stuffed animals, bedding, pillows and such to suffocate the lice that might be hiding out waiting to infect your child again. 
I had one student who would get cleared and a week later show up again with the lice. It had nothing to do with the cleanliness of her home. It turns out that the little buggers were hanging out on the couch pillows and her mom didn't even think to check anything but the bed pillows! Be very thorough when ridding your home of these pests! Also remind your children not to share clothing items, hats, hair brushes or similar items at school - this is the best way to pass those pests around.

How do you plan for sick days? What tips and tricks do you have to stay healthy? How do you stay sane during sick days?


  1. I find that the hardest part for me is just admiting that it's going to be a "hold me" day. Once I accept that all those other things are going to be put on hold, it's not so bad (as long as I'm not sick too). I don't like holding still, so I think its good for me to be forced to slow down and just hold my little one. When I left for college I didn't realize how much id miss my kom until I was sick and alone. I look back at being sick as a child and I don't remeber the aches and pains so much as the cuddles, pop cycles, gentle hand on the for head with a concerned "how you doing sweetie?", (not to mention being able to watch whatever I wanted on the tv). I want my kids to remeber that too.

    1. I think you are right about accepting the "hold me" day. It does help everything go much more smoothly!

  2. Also my sister gave us the flu doll and the herpies doll. My thank you note said "never thought I'd say this, but thanks for the herpies!"