‘Tis the Season for Sickies

It has to be the most frustrating season of the year, the cold season.

Your perfectly healthy child can wake up in the middle of the night, sweaty, crying, and being a sleepless-restless whining mess.  Understandable, as your former romping gymnast 8 hours ago, now can’t breathe through her nose, may be coughing with a ‘seal-ish’ sound and her normally cute curls are a disheveled mess that is matted to her fevered sweat on her forehead.

You got yourself a full-blown sick child.  A SICKIE, as we lovingly refer to in the Monkee abode.

The most frustrating part comes after you have medicated and cuddled your Sickie back into a snoring sleep.  The decision to ponder.  Do you keep your child home from daycare and/or school?

If you are a SAHM, it’s a matter of changing an already complicated schedule, especially if you have more than one child in activities.  It’s not fun having to drag your Sickie to school pick-up, or to a hockey arena for the older siblings practice, or make them suffer through 45 minutes of a boring-to-them ballet class.  Surely, they will come down with a worse case of the Whiny-Why-Can’t-I-Stay-Home-Alone-Sickies.

As a part-time working Mom, my stress comes from deciding IF someone is going to stay home, then WHO is going to stay home with the sickie.

Luckily, the Man is his own boss but that doesn’t mean that he can re-schedule important meetings at 5am in the morning and usually Sickies tend to get sick at the most in-opportune moments, when work is insanely busy and the Man has a meeting with someone who just flew in from Toronto for the day.

Working part-time, I find that the Sickie will usually get sick on days that I am working. SIGH.  Although work has Special Leave, the 2-3 allotted days don’t cover the 10-20 colds/illnesses that can run rampant during your house during Sickie Season.

My favourite is the Special Leave form that you have to fill-out once you are back, basically making you feel like a 12 year old and not an adult, where you are asking for permission and then taking you through the steps of : Is there anyone else who could take care of your Sickie?  Could your other family/friends help you?

I would like to respond that : I do have friends that would take care of my child but very few friends I would ask to take my Sickie into their healthy family home.  Hey healthy family, would you like a ridiculously sick child to invade your healthy home? Insane isn’t it, especially because no one else can cuddle like Mom and Dad’s usually will do in a pinch.

I find it’s an easier choice if the are vomiting and have diarrhea, working in healthcare you understand that keeping your sickie away for at least 24 hours after the last sign of these symptoms, is a good measure to prevent being labelled the “mother of the child that infected and spread the plague” .

I quickly keep my sickie home if there are great-green-mucous-y snot fangs running out of their noses.  I wouldn’t wish anybody, other than the child’s own parents, to wipe those infected scary snot noses.  Clear running noses are another thing.  I am proud to say that my two children are “expert nose blowers”, so much that I would put it on my resume as a No.1 Nose Blow Trainer.  Clear noses can be allergies or just a regular response to the inconsistent weather changes during the “Rainy Season”.  Off to school/daycare with tissues they go!

Here’s a hint: If they still want to go to gymnastics, hockey, or their favourite activity…they should still be able to make it to school.

Think about what you would want your child exposed to and how they would be at school/daycare.  I’m not a doctor but I would keep them home and then immediately call my pediatrician/doctor if they are displaying any of these symptoms:

1. Fever.  In the last 24 hours.  Sometimes the fever will go away with medication but after those 4 hours they will be spiking a fever again and be completely fatigued at school/daycare.

2. Rash.  If your child has a rash be very careful.  I didn’t realize until after it happened that a rash can be a sign of a very contagious illness ex. chicken pox, impetigo, or a viral rash like strep.

3. Cough.  A consistent cough that doesn’t go away could be bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and/or whooping cough. If it’s accompanied by wheezing, chest pain, or laboured breathing, you need to go see a doctor immediately.

4. Pink eye. I am always surprised by the number of parents who try to drop their children off at school/daycare when they have pink eye.  I am not sure if they noticed or not but it’s so uncomfortable that I can’t imagine a child not complaining about it.  Pink eye is contagious and needs to be treated.

5. Headache, Muscle Pain, Ear Pain.  These symptoms are difficult to determine if your child cannot describe or verbalize them to you.  Look for inconsolable or extreme fussy behaviour, or just plain crankyness.  I didn”t realize my 5 year old was having a headache until I finally asked him what why he was so crabby.  He didn’t know how to describe the ‘pain in his head’

6. Sore Throat/Lack of Appetite.   It may be Strep Throat. Strep throat is contagious & can come with a rash (NO.2). Your child should see her doctor. Once diagnosed with strep throat, your child needs to stay home until they have been on antibiotics for 24 hours.  Can’t tell if your child’s throat is swollen?  Try checking their glands and having a look inside their mouths when they are healthy, just so you have a comparison.  This is how I found out that my two monkees have massive tonsils.  Sometimes this is accompanied by a child who refuses to eat, it could be because swallowing hurts or it could be because something doesn’t feel right with their tummys/stomachs.  If you can’t bribe them with treats, they probably are really feeling ill.

Truly, the only way to know if your child should stay home should be based on your own instincts.  It’s always easier if you have an employer who understands the trial and tribulations of the Sickie Season themselves but they can’t stop you from being a good parent and sometimes you will just have to deal with the work-guilt and not being paid leave.  Whether you have a baby or a teenager, knowing how to decipher your child’s true symptoms and having a good understanding of the true meaning of ‘being sick’, makes it easier to make the decision of should they stay or should they go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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