Kids and germs seem to go hand-in-hand. It’s a part of life, and being a Mom. You deal with the snotty noses and fevers, coughing and headaches. You learn to deal with it, and help your child heal.
Well, I can deal with my child’s snot, anyway…
In Bruce’s (nearly) first year of life, we’ve been pretty lucky when it comes to germ over exposure and getting sick. The only time he’s ever had a legitimate cold, me being the worrisome first time mom, took him straight to the pediatrician, to discover he had actually contracted Flu-A…just two weeks before he was scheduled to receive the vaccine for it! After a week of Tamiflu, with only about three days of a runny nose, he was fine. What baffled me was the fact he not only contracted it, but I couldn’t pinpoint where it came from. It did occur during the beginning of flu season, and in this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to raise a child in a germ-free bubble. But what if it had been something worse?
Well you can’t avoid every germ in the world-your baby is going to get exposed one way or another. Maybe a quick trip to the grocery store. Maybe Grandma is a carrier and doesn’t have symptoms of her own. All you can proactively do is make sure your baby’s nutrition is good, vitamin levels are high, and has over-all as excellent health as possible.
This is what annoys me about play dates, in particular, and any other social setting where other kids, of any age, are involved: Even if you might be extra cautious about exposing your baby to germs and unnecessary bugs…that doesn’t mean everyone else is.
Too many times I have taken Bruce to family/friend visits, or play dates, and had this scenario play out: someone with a sick kid doesn’t say anything, and the first thing said kid does? Get right in my child’s face with a fever and runny nose, hands touching his chubby cheeks and wanting to give him a kiss. I am in no way offended if you cancel a play date because your child came down with something the night before. I will not be upset if you had to keep your child home from school because they were sick. But please tell me instead of thinking “Oh they’ll be fine, it’s good for the immune system.” My son shouldn’t be exposed unnecessarily, as well as myself. The last thing I should be doing is carrying back a really bad cold/flu germ to a 3,6, or 11 month old baby.
Even before I had kids, I noticed friends of mine who did, and didn’t seem to care if their kids made anyone sick. I had one of the worst flus of my 28 year life (blood running out my nose for a week with a fever that wouldn’t break), caught from an eight year old who was sent home from school, who’s mother insisted on bringing to lunch with us adults. She later admitted she knew he was sick, “But didn’t want you guys to freak out and cancel.”
Of course, again, you can’t live in a bubble. You’re going to be exposed to things. But why would you put the health of others at risk if you could prevent it? I’m not going to touch on the topic of anti-vaccination. I’m not going to mention the more serious illnesses that young babies shouldn’t be exposed to if they haven’t received shots for it. This post is only about the common colds and flus, and those are bad enough. What if the germ that made the single/childless version of myself, had gotten to a six month old baby? I was 26 at the time and thought I was dying…what if a baby had went through the same thing?
We learned to ask those friends and family with kids, if anyone was sick before visiting. Same with play dates. Sure, it’s probably annoying, but I’m going to ask each and every time-because I’m tired of stressing and worrying every time your kid’s snot get’s sprayed across mine’s face. It’s unnecessary. My son even came down with something before he was of age to receive a shot for it-which wouldn’t have fully prevented it, but he probably wouldn’t have suffered as much. The point is-why would you knowingly allow your sick child around mine? What benefit is there?
Well, health experts now say that early exposure, such as through daycares, can help increase one’s immune system,and lead to lesser illnesses in the future. Even through day-to-day contact with people, they are getting exposure.(Again, that bubble analogy). But this doesn’t mean that deliberately exposing your child to germs is a good thing. And most daycares, same as schools, don’t recommend allowing infectious children to attend while sick. Why? Exposure to others!
And if I want to expose him-that’s my choice as a parent. You bringing your sick kid to touch all over mine, without telling me they are sick, isn’t. And that’s what I find so infuriating.
Allergies, I don’t mind. It’s contagious germs I worry about. It’s not that hard to say “Hey, (enter name here) is getting over a cold, he/she still has a little runny nose, but I wanted to let you know…” and allow me, as the parent of my child, to make the decision whether or not to expose them. Please… don’t do it for me.