Facing the Fear of Flu SeasonWhit Honea
The school district called me last night. They also emailed. It was the same message, one typed and one spoken by the sender, a health professional of official school district status, and it was loud and clear: the flu is here.
Apparently there are a number of parents that continue to send their children to school despite the fact that they are showing signs of illness, and as a result the flu is spreading like wildfire through the timber. The message added a stern reminder that should our children have the flu that we must not send them back into the huddled masses from which they came, but rather keep them home and nurse them back to wellness. It seemed fairly obvious.
“Are there a lot of kids sick in your class?” I asked the boys.
They both listed off a who’s who of kids that have been absent, or disappeared into office of the nurse never to return, and as they spoke I lost myself in a vision of shared pencils, snacks, and the ritual passing of the four square ball.
They are like so many carrier monkeys, and as we spoke the youngest wiped the back of his hand across his face and proceeded to touch every single item that I hold dear. I thought I felt a tickle in my throat.
“We had flu shots,” said the oldest. “We can’t get sick.”
“That’s a great theory,” I replied. “However, there are always exceptions, varied strains, and the common cold. Your chances of not getting the flu are far greater than those that did not get a flu shot, but there is always a chance.”
“Did you get a flu shot?” he asked.
“No,” I answered. “That is why I’m worried.”
I read a study recently, posted to a site that is both foolproof and official (Facebook), that talked about kids carrying contagion upon them far longer than adults, and that the radius of their sneeze exceeds much farther into the ether than we had been led to believe, neither of which I wanted to know (you’re welcome). It was both gross and worrisome.
I looked at my sniffling boys wanting hugs, nourishment, and a bit of time tossing the ball around, and I suddenly wanted nothing more than to poke them into their room with a very long stick, duct tape the door shut, and go medieval on the dotted lines that brought them here with a gallon of bleach like a frantic, sterilized eraser chasing Billy across the tangled frames of Family Circus.
“Why didn’t you get a flu shot?” they asked.
“I tried, but they were out. I went to two pharmacies and my doctor’s office. None of them had shots available.”
“You should have tried harder,” said the youngest.
“There is no try,” quoted the oldest.
“I’m not sure I agree with Yoda on that one,” I said. “But you are probably right. I should have done it when I had the chance.”
We spent the night cuddling on the sofa, laughing loudly and throwing caution to the wind like the germ it rode in on, and we washed our hands accordingly.
Please note: I am not a medical professional, so please contact one if you feel that it is necessary.
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).