germs be gone

I cannot deal with the germs this time of year ever, but it seems so much worse this year. Maybe worse is the wrong word. Maybe frequent fits better. We've had some doozies in our past: RSV, viral hepatitis, bouts of hand foot mouth followed by fifth's disease followed by strep throat and so on. This year, with the exception of a hellish stomach bug, we've had mostly little ailments: colds. Colds that flow into ear infections or sinus infections, but colds nonetheless. We've still had some fun ones. Ethan is currently five days into a course of antibiotics for strep throat, and Carmen is as well for pneumonia and a double ear infection. Ethan begins school on Tuesday and it would be sweet if, you know, he was healthy and before he goes, we could enjoy this beautiful and atypical weather that Florida is boasting while the rest of the country seems to be buried under snow. (Seriously. This is the one time of year we might not totally melt within twenty minutes of stepping outside.)

During one of Carmen's check-ups, a woman pushed her flu-positive child into the elevator with us and argued with me that kids get sick. Deal with it. I clutched my healthy underweight preemie baby in my arms as if I could shield her from the sneezing, hacking, whining mess of four year old standing dangerously close to us. As Ethan has a history of respiratory issues and asthma, I'm tired of having that argument. I'm tired of the "kids get sick" nonsense because some kids really get sick and nobody deserves to have to comfort their small child in an emergency room bed just because someone thought it was cool to share a little croup or maybe a little strep throat like it's some childhood rite of passage or something. Sometimes the argument morphs into a debate about healthcare in America and missing work and missing school and I'm not even touching any of that, just saying that maybe if your kid has a random fever of 102 degrees and two days worth of diarrhea, it's okay to skip a day of mommy and me class. If your kid needs an emergency barf bag, they probably would feel better at home on the couch vegging in front of TV rather than swinging on the playground -- even if it means you miss your run for the second day in a row (I'm looking at you, lady in neon green leggings at the North Community Park playground). The other day, my friend even texted me that a mother brought her sick child into the healthy child's classroom -- holding a puke bucket and all. Please, people. No one wants your vomit. Sharing isn't always caring.

We are in that phase of illness where there is some residual coughing at nighttime. We are no longer contagious but cautious about what other illnesses are looming in the places that won't kill us to take a week off from, like mommy and me classes or public playgrounds or museums. Yesterday we strolled downtown near the ocean for hours, smelling the sea breeze and watching the sailboats go by on the Intracoastal. Today we did a salt therapy session which cleared up Carmen's breathing so quickly, she was able to finally get the first decent nap in some time.

As I praise the power of medicine and submerge myself in gratitude that my kids seem to finally be on the mend, I'm finding myself a little apprehensive about school starting. School. Isn't that the place where people say your children really start to bring home the germs? Yesterday I stocked up on saline spray and Boogie Wipes and today I signed up for a pass at The Salt Box because something tells me we're going to need it. Other than a healthy, well-rounded diet (which my children get and I could probably do better at considering Starbucks won't protect me from the gunk Ethan will bring home), are there any secrets for staying healthy and building immunity? I think I would do just about anything at this point to prevent another week stuck at home itching from the germs permeating through the house.

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