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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Holidays and family spoiled by illness... It's that time of year!

Wash hands to prevent illness!
It is Thanksgiving morning as I write this. I am enjoying my quiet time as the family sleeps in. Extra time to blog because I'm not cooking today ... more on that later.

Yesterday was a typical day in our office for a day before a holiday. Sick kids came in with parents hoping for an insta-cure so they could enjoy the holiday with the extended family. A few wanted to fly back home with a febrile child and wanted our okay -- but of course didn't get it because even on an antibiotic they could spread illness if it is a virus, which most illnesses are. Some parents just called in because they were already out of town when their child got sick and they wanted to know what will make them better before the turkey celebration.

I'm sure most parents knew deep down that the answer would be "time". There is no insta-cure for most illnesses. Anyone with fever, cough, sore throat, or other ill symptoms should be kept away from the festivities. Even if the fever goes down with a fever reducer. Even if the last fever was before bed last night and it's down this morning. Fever can wax and wane and one needs to be fever-free (without a medication to bring it down) for 24 hours before we really consider it gone. People are most contagious when they are running a fever and the first few days of illness.

It stinks. I know. As a parent with a teen who has had a cough for over a week and is sleeping a disrupted 16-18 hours a day, I will miss Thanksgiving with extended family to avoid the spread of illness. Could we go? Sure. He hasn't run a fever all week. He's old enough that he can wash hands, cough into his elbow, and stay out of everyone's way. But he'd be miserable. And if one of the little ones got sick, I'd feel awful. Even if they got it elsewhere, I'd wonder if it was from him.

So I get it. It really stinks. Family from Tennessee and California are in town. We rarely see them and I want the cousins to get to know one another. But my teen isn't feeling well and I don't want the cousins to feel this way. I haven't started him on antibiotics to make him better faster because I know they wouldn't work. We are using a humidifier, lots of sleep, and waiting. He's refusing the nasal wash unfortunately... but I keep offering it!

This holiday season I wish everyone health, but if someone is sick, stay home. Don't spread the germs.

For more information on treating illnesses, see these links:

Fever
Cough and colds
Ear pain and infections
Wheezing in infants
Croup
Influenza
Tamiflu
Vomiting and diarrhea
Pink eye and other red eyes
Strep throat
Painful urination
Cough Medicines: Which One's Best?
Evolution of Illness