Friday, October 9, 2009

Bring out the masks!

I'm normally a mom who doesn't worry much about germs. I figure when my kids get sick, they're building up immunity for later.

But this whole H1N1 thing seems different. So many people around us have it, or had it--kids across the street, kids at church, friends on Facebook. Thankfully it can't be passed on Facebook, but it seems to be spreading very quickly around the neighborhood and around schools...and probably around churches.

My kids don't go to school yet, and we haven't been to church in a month because of all our travel. But here we are, back in town, and I find myself wondering, Hmm, do you think I could get surgical masks to match the kids' Sunday clothes? Would it look weird if Zoodle carried a bottle of Purell in his pocket? If I just keep the kids inside the house for the next three months, will they suffer permanent psychological damage?

For reasons that may or may not be logical, I am definitely more wary of this particular illness than of run-of-the-mill seasonal viruses. So many children have H1N1; it seems to be spreading like wildfire. I do wonder how much of that is just due to the hype; could it be that lots of kids around me get "normal" influenza every year, and I just don't hear about it?

I'm going to try to find a happy medium--somewhere between, "Do these surgical masks come in toddler sizes?" and "You're cold, Chickie? Aww, just cuddle up against that kid who has a 103 degree fever; he'll warm you up." And if, despite reasonable precautions, one or all of us get sick, we'll deal with it.

What about you--have you found yourself caught up in the H1N1 hype?

19 comments:

Rachel Cotterill said...

We're not sure if we've had it or not - we got ill just after seeing some friends who did go down with that particular flu, but we weren't *very* ill. Our friends have four small kids, but they all got over it quite quickly and are absolutely fine now.

Strange Mamma said...

I've wondered if some of my friends back in Chicago have had it as there's been many reports of sickness there. Here, we don't seem to hear much about people in our immediate vicinity having it. Asher has had a couple colds in the last couple months which is odd for him, and I've kept an eye on them, but he hasn't really had a fever and is usually better within a few days, so I'm thinking just cold. But yes, I am more wary about this particular flu. It had me really nervous in the beginning, but I'm kind of in the same place as you. If it happens we'll deal with it. I think being aware and treating symptoms as quickly as possible is the best defence against complications.

Autumn said...

I have GermX in the car; right inside the front door to the house; attached to both kids' book bags; and on the end tables next to the tissues. Lol. I over do it because my immune system is weak (bad kidneys and other such health problems) and I want to make sure my kids wash their hands. Apparently that's not as much fun to them as GermX. I still push them to go wash their hands (every half hour or so) but I know that if I have bottles of the GermX laying around they are sure to use them or remember to use it more often. (Works out great when there's a sick kid on the couch reaching for tissues!! They always remember to use the stuff right after they blow their nose!)

Crazy Mo said...

"You're cold, Chickie? Aww, just cuddle up against that kid who has a 103 degree fever; he'll warm you up." ... Hilarious!

I'm like you C.Beth. I think it's important to be exposed to some germs to build immunity. And I've never had a flu shot. I'm forty-something and I can't remember the last time I had the flu. But I do wash my hands all the time and cough into my sleeve -- and I chastise people who don't.

Personally, I'm not worried about H1N1. In fact ... we're meeting with friends tonight to decide where to go on vacation in November. We're actually leaning towards Mexico.

Kris said...

I don't know that I'm caught up in the hype necessarily...but I'm concerned much like yourself. I too want to find a happy medium because I really don't want my kiddos to get sick--their little immune systems would be working overtime if they got H1N1...but I don't want to be paranoid and over-protective either. My elder kids do carry hand sanitizer in their backpacks...but Cowboy and Tinkerbell are way too little lol..so we have just been practicing good hygiene habits (like hand-washing, etc)!!

Call Me Cate said...

I'm not spazzed but I'm aware. I have a coworker whose family has been passing around something and I've been avoiding him like the plague. (Haha, get it? Plague?) Hope you and yours all avoid it, as well as me and mine and everyone else.

rainylakechick said...

Like you said, H1N1 flu seems to all over Austin. Just heard of another school (Rosedale) closing for the day today, since so many kids are out with the flu. A co-worker's daughter has H1N1 and they are concerned about the other daughter, who has asthma. Its out there... Not sure what you can do to prevent it.

I actually had some type of flu a few weeks ago. Spent three days at home, just resting! I'm over it all now. I never went to the doc to see if it was H1N1, but it could've been. Hopefully I'm covered for the rest of the flu season! :)

LEstes65 said...

On the "sky is falling" side of things, I keep hearing people self diagnose anything that isn't a cold "I have the flu!" Well, my boys just had a week of fevers and congestion and general punkiness. And I can tell you what it wasn't: flu. There are a myriad of viruses going around right now. Some of them are nasty and knock you on your butt. But not all are flu. So there is definitely something to the hype. A pharmacist friend of mine told me she is much more concerned with the non H1N1 strains and other viruses because what she is seeing come into her pharmacy from those are much worse than what she's seeing walk in with H1N1.

Also, I got the regular flu shot but won't be getting the H1N1.

I think you're right that more kids get influenza every year and don't even know it. How many people self diagnose in order to avoid insane copays? LOTS. So sometimes you have someone sending their kid to school with the flu and sometimes you have someone crying FLU! when it's a bad cold or some other virus.

I'm with you - I've found a calm medium of acceptance. My God is bigger than any virus. My kids and I are trying to be smart (we've stopped licking doorknobs and stair railings). If we get it, it's because we're social human beings.

Oh, and a friend just emailed me that her 5 yr old has mono. And he was at a jumpy party with Lil'Bro last weekend. They didn't know what was going on with him at the time so brought him along. See what I mean?

If you all get sick, I'll bring you soup. Or chili. Or chocolate chess pies.

Rebecca said...

I work on a college campus and we actually had a person from "Environmental Health & Safety" come and talk to the staff in our building. The advice we got was use hand sanitizer often, wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow, all good... Masks? Nope. Not going to help. It's your hands that you have to worry about.

Chrissie said...

I work at a college an the hype is everywhere around here. We have hand sanitizer up on all the walls, and we get several emails weekly about it. We also are collecting any money or anything that someone hands up with tissues. Its crazy but I understand the hype. I personally find my self washing my hands, using the santizier, and being aware of who is "sickly" looking.

Janet L. Nowlin said...

I'm actually considering getting a flu shot this year, mostly because I just found out it's covered by my insurance. If I don't have to shell out the bucks, I may as well.

My sister has a prof and student in one of her classes who both have it, and I was just at a meeting with a woman whose mother and brother have it, so it is getting close to home. (This is Wisconsin and Chicago, respectively)

I've never gotten the flu shot before (unless I did when I was a child but considering how on-the-ball my family is with going to the doctor, I doubt it). But I am considering. I also firmly believe that practicing safe touching (you know, use sanitizer and try not to pick your nose directly after taking public transportation). I guess this means I have to stop making out with strangers though. Maaaan...

Scriptor Senex said...

My nose is blocked. I'm a bloke. Therefore I have flu! Bring me my slippers, a cup of something warm and let me groan in peace.
Seriously, one great advantage of having grown up children is that these things float over one's head where years ago they would have been a major source of concern.

Barga said...

ignoring the battle going on on my site (apparently Ander doesn't like my idea that h1n1 is dangerous), the masks are not a good idea. How soon will your kids get the masks damp? Soon as they are damp, the membrane is transmutable and it will go threw

2cats said...

I got my flu shot a few weeks ago. While I was gettingit I asked the nurse if I would also need the H1N1 shot. She laughed. It seems that there won't be enough of that to go around and that because it is so new and not a lot of testing time, they don't know for sure if it will work. The nurse was of the opinion that we have the media to thank for they hype and the mild hysteria going around. She said to take normal precautions and to be aware, but not to worry too much. Sounds like a perfect way to live.

Mellodee said...

2cats is absolutely right. The media has a lot to do with blowing this into a bigger issue than it really is. If your child gets sick getting them to a doctor for diagnosis is probably a good idea. Nevertheless, Beth, you're also correct, a happy medium is almost always a logical position to take and those natural immunities are important. This appears to me to be one more example of a "tempest in a teapot". Its natural to want to protect your children from harm,but even at its worst, H1N1 just has not proven itself to be any worse than seasonal flu and in most cases is a whole lot better.

Nick said...

Absolutely not! I see it as mass paranoia. I don't believe in the vaccines personally and I'm not going to let a new disease change that. It's just another flu.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Watch this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8246465.stm

Our Scoop said...

Ok. If it is in your neighborhood - I say GET THE MASKS out. Color coordinate - pink for you and Chickie, etc. If I have to take Andrew to the doc or I have to go this season - I will be wearing a mask and maybe gloves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I won't get the shots though. Too chicken to try the first year out!

minnemom said...

Based on symptoms and the prevailing information in our state, my kids all had H1N1 over Labor Day weekend, mild cases, and they came through just fine.

I swore I wasn't going to enter a clinic or hospital this season unless absolutely necessary.

And now, here I sit in the hospital with my son, who was having breathing difficulties. We waited in the waiting room for two hours with sick people, so I think my turn is next.

More disconcerting is that they don't know if it's asthma, flu, or some strain of pneumonia. It's been a lot of wait-and-see.

All of the children on the pediatric ward at this hospital are in isolation because they all have some sort of respiratory illness. All of them. Whatever it is that's going around, it's what's landing kids in the hospital.

Now I'm not sure what to think. But I know that unless we stay home 24/7, all of us, it's pretty hard to stay away from everything. We just have to pray for the best.