My son has a fever, as well as a headache, a sore throat, and a small cough. A year ago, that would be no big deal. Give him plenty of fluids, make sure he rests, and then send him back to school once he is feeling better. He’s not even acting too sick right now. Besides being quiet, he is perfectly content relaxing in front of the TV with his video games, taking full advantage of extending his weekend by a day or two. The fever is low, going back and forth between 99 and 100 degrees. So if this were last year, I wouldn’t be concerned at all.
But this year it’s different. With the Swine Flu on the rise, a small fever is still very alarming. The thoughts race through my head – What if it gets worse? What if this really is Swine Flu? Who did he catch it from? Do I contact anyone he was around yesterday to let them know that my son has a fever? Should I put a sign on my door to let kids know that he can’t play, and that they should keep away from the house like we have the plague? How long will he be out of school? What if his sister gets it? What if it runs through the whole family, keeping me out of work for a long period of time? Do I have enough sick time stocked up if I need to stay out of work?
And then there’s another thought – what if I get sick?
On an airplane, one of the first instructions in safety is that in case of an emergency, put your breathing mask on first before you tend to your child. It’s our natural reaction to want to save our children before ourselves to be sure that they are taken care of and out of harm’s way. But if we are suffocating and going to pass out, not only are we hurting ourselves, we are hurting our children. If I get Swine Flu, who will take care of my kids? Who will drive them to school, help them with their homework, make their dinner, or get them ready for bed? And if we all are sick, how will I make sure that they have everything they need? As a single mom, this is all a definite concern. There is no other adult here to take over. If I go down, the whole household stands still.
Swine Flu has hit both of my kids’ schools. Several people from work have been out for over a week with it. One of my friends had a sore throat followed by a headache, and then she was knocked off her feet with a fever. Now that she’s better, her son has it. According to an article by Martin Espinoza in June, 98% of all flu cases at the time were considered Swine Flu. If that was June, and we are in flu season now, what does that mean for the population now? As a parent, it’s hard for my head NOT to swim with the dangers and fears over the Swine Flu.
KidsHealth.org has some great information about the Swine Flu. According to them, kids have been affected more prominently from the Swine Flu than any other strain of flu. But they follow that up to state that the symptoms are usually mild, so it’s unnecessary to panic. The symptoms of Swine Flu are fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headaches, and tiredness. Diarrhea or vomiting might occur as well. My friend’s son has had a fever for two days. But other than that, he seems like he is fairly healthy.
What if you or your child comes down with the Swine Flu? From what I gather, hospitals are not going to admit just anyone who has contracted the Swine Flu unless the situation is dire. Think about it, if they gather everyone with the virus in a place full of already sick people, a lot more people are going to contract it and could die. So doctors are urging the public to stay home and treat this like any other flu virus – lots of fluids and lots of rest. To help against spreading the disease, cough or sneeze into a tissue, and wash your hands as often as possible.
And just as important as protecting yourself against the virus, it’s good to communicate with extended family and close friends in case the worst happens. I had a talk with my parents several weeks ago about a Plan B in case I was to get sick. We came to an agreement that if the kids were healthy, they would stay with them while I got better. Just knowing that there is a back-up plan puts some relief in me.
For now, however, I’m just going to focus on getting my little guy better. And get him off the video games so he can rest.