Are You Sick? Don’t Put My Kid in the Hospital.

I’m not really sure why I’m writing this. The people who actually need to read it either won’t…or will dismiss it immediately after they do.

But I’m going to say it anyway because your family, job and schedule are not more important than mine or anyone else’s. And maybe a Motrin Mom or a Motrin Dad will actually listen.

Don’t. Send. Your. Kid. To. School. Sick.

Colds are a pain. Symptoms can last for weeks. The reality is that everyone can’t stay home for the entire duration of all cold symptoms. I get that. Runny noses are inevitable in a classroom of young children. But if your kid is coughing and sneezing non-stop. Clearly feeling miserable. Running a fever. Don’t do it.

Keep them home.

Did you give your kid Motrin this morning to lower their fever JUST ENOUGH to squeak by the rules? Does your kid need Motrin PERIOD to get through this period of their communicable illness?

Then they should stay home.

Yesterday I saw an older kid start crying as she walked through the front doors of school because she didn’t feel well. She literally just got out of her parents’ car, and was already telling a teacher she was sick. Today I found out about a kid in my son’s special needs pre-school class whose mom is playing the Motrin game.

This was my son in September with the rhinovirus. Do you know what that is? It’s the common cold.

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Because of his seizure disorder, this particular cold, for reasons we don’t understand, triggered a status episode that led to 12 days in ICU. Illness in general, tends to trigger an increase in seizures, but we have no idea why this one was so incredibly bad.

Now I know I can’t protect him from all illnesses. No matter what I do, he is bound to get sick. It takes time to build an immune system and there is no way he is never going to catch something at school. We all get sick and we all spread sickness, even if we don’t mean to.

But when you know you are at the peak of contagion.

When you know your kid needs Motrin to pass the nurse’s test.

When you know your kid is not only coughing their lungs out, but also is too young to understand about covering their mouth and hygiene.

When you know they attend school with medically fragile children.

Oh you didn’t know that? Your kid probably does, even if you don’t know it. In fact, it doesn’t matter if they don’t actually have medically fragile schoolmates. Because we never know when even a typical kid is going to have an unexpected reaction to an otherwise ordinary illness.

So please do your part. And by the way, I used to teach. Assuming your child is verbal, they love to rat you out that they were sick that morning and mommy or daddy gave them medicine so they could still go to school. So your kid’s teacher is probably aware you are a jerk with no regard for others.

It’s not just about inconveniencing people. Maybe it was just a cold or cough, or 24-hour virus for you. That doesn’t mean it will be for the next person.

It might mean an ER visit.

An ICU admission.

A ventilator.

Understand that in the special needs/medically fragile community, it might mean death.

This is Malarie.

Photo and story shared with parents' permission.
Photo and story shared with parents’ permission.

She was 10 and had the same genetic disorder (tuberous sclerosis complex) as my son. She got sick last June and her parents took her to the ER for what they thought would be a short visit to get a handle on her illness. Within hours she developed  pneumonia, went into septic shock and passed away. It was completely unexpected and devastating.

What might be nothing for you, could be fatal for someone else. If you know you are sick and contagious, or that your kid is, do the right thing.

Stay home.

 

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