Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stay Calm, Wipe your Snout, and Wash your Hands

I belong to a listserver that delivers a daily email from our middle school principal. I usually glance over the announcements and try to remember the canned food drives and scheduled crazy hair days.

Over the past few months the tone of these emails has grown slightly more ominous and urgent. First the message that swine flu had been detected in California, a few weeks later it was reported in the Bay area. Just over a week ago we were told that there were definite cases in our county.

The updates have stopped now. What can the principal say? It's in our school. We know a boy down the street who is home with it. My own sister had it. It's real, and it's here.

There is only so much we can do as parents short of keeping our kids home for the next few months. We have to trust them as thinking people to remember to wash their hands and try to stop touching their faces so much (not easy for teens experimenting with makeup).

I hate to lecture, and I don't want to scare, but this is one thing I want my kids to take seriously. So when Wasabi Girl complained that the boy behind her was sneezing and hacking nonstop in Humanities class I told her that now is not the time to be polite. She should have moved. It's not about hurting feelings or calling attention to anyone, it's about staying well.

We've been lucky so far, although Jungle Boy had some kind of flu last week. Tell me your story. Are you doing okay? Are there a lot of empty seats at your school and workplace? I haven't been able to find any clinic in the area that has vaccine right now, but I'll keep trying.

We'll get through this. Let's all stay calm. And remember to cough into our shoulders.

9 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Laura said...

Lots of empty desks.
No sign of peace at Mass.
And, if you stop outside of classrooms in our school, you can sometimes hear a symphony of coughing.
Ick.

The Mother said...

My oldest had it when it swept through his college a few months back--his entire dorm was down.

We hear about sporadic cases in our area, but so far it doesn't seem to be rampant in our high school.

We're just washing our hands and keeping our fingers crossed.

HeatherV said...

I have just started to notice it hitting my high school students. 7 kids on Monday. I am now moving to a daily mass email to all absent students for missing work and modified assignments so they don't get too far behind. The state test will go on Day 90 of class.

I managed to get the vaccine this week from my OB and my husband and 3 three old got it after a very long wait at the health dept. I feel a little better, but know that someone's family is going to get hit.

Germ-free thoughts!

domesticish diva said...

We've been told that the vaccine is running late (and I live in pharma land) so we won't be getting it until Nov.

Good luck keeping out of germs!

Addie said...

There are a couple cases at the University I go to. Once one person gets sick usually everyone else does since everyone touches the doors, computers, tables, etc.

I've got some kind of bug, but not the flu. I haven't really changed anything I do. I always wash my hands after going to the restroom and before eating, there's not much else to do.

Tammy said...

Our schools have had so many kids out sick. My son has it right now and it turned into pnuemonia in 2 days. So he is now on 2 antibiotics and is finally getting better. It is kinda scary seeing him so weak and sick. Be so careful and wash hands and use hand sanitizer when you can't wash your hands. I totally would tell my kids to move away from someone coughing and stuff at school. You can never be too careful.

Vegas Gal said...

I'm the sister who had the flue last June. It wasn't that bad. (Well, it wouldn't have been that bad if I hadn't got fired in the middle of it which made things a bit worse...) I got it from a friend who was staying at my house. His case wasn't too bad either. I don't think there is any reason to panic.

More helpful than email lists and hand sanitizers would be just to stock up on flu supplies ahead of time. Make sure you have plenty of whatever you like to take for the flu. My favorite is TheraFlu, because it is a hot drink and it is very soothing. Also, the Robitussin is awesome. Also, the Vicks Vaporub is very helpful. You can put it in a vaporizer for more relief.

I think if you control the symptoms with over-the-counter meds, you will not have a very hard time. The thing to worry about is if the lungs fill up with liquid and you have trouble breathing. Or if your fingers start to turn blue from lack of oxygen. Then you need to go to the doctor for sure. But take the meds and that probably won't happen.

No cause for panic. Most people survive this and get on with their lives after a few days.

Kim said...

I work at a middle school and the staff stay home when they're sick. Not the students. One girl went home sick and came back to school the next day. Parents can't or don't want to take time off work to stay home with sick kids.

Branlaadee said...

I imagine it'll go around my house this year. My youngest is in high school still, my middle daughter work at a day care center and my husband takes BART every day. Everyone has bottles of hand sanitizer, so hopefully that'll help out.

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