Because while one kid was being diagnosed with a nasty cough and ear infection last week, the after-school program was leaving me a message that the other kid had a 102 fever. I didn’t feel so hot myself.
So we were back at the doctor’s office the next day with mommy and daughter appointments. They tickled throats and noses. When the results came back, I had strep; she had flu. We were advised to stay out of circulation. And even though the other kid had no fever and officially was not infectious, it seemed bad taste to send him back to school with a hacking cough when folks are nervous about flu.
As the Daily Journal health reporter, I’ve been questioning doctors and writing stories about H1N1 swine flu since last April when it arrived in Mexico. I knew there was a good chance it would end up at my house sooner rather than later.
I can’t tell you that we had a confirmed case of swine flu – that designation is made by state health departments based on lab tests that subtype viruses. But my sweet pea did test positive for influenza A, and novel H1N1– swine flu – is the predominant strain of A influenza at the moment. She’s not alone right now – the swine flu is considered widespread in Mississippi and five other states.
Three-quarters of the Morris family spent a lot of the last week on the couch watching too much TV, drinking too much Sprite and being slugs.
My dear husband has become skilled at ducking germs when the kids and I get sick. He washes his hands every time he hugs a child. While it’s a very efficient use of sick leave for the kids and me to all be ill in the same week, it’s the kind of thing that leaves you stomping your foot over the unfairness of it all.
So what’s all the fuss about swine flu? Because it’s a novel flu virus, no one’s immune system has seen before, more people are likely to get sick.
This new flu has generally been no more severe than seasonal flu. But the seasonal flu contributes to people’s deaths every year. So it’s important to pay attention to the flu, but not panic.
So work with your kids about good hand washing, covering their coughs and keeping their hands off their faces.
And be prepared to spend the better part of a week with them sick at home sometime this fall.
Michaela Gibson Morris is a Daily Journal staff writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (662) 842-9462.