Dodging A Bullet

I’m told by friends in the know that kids get sick pretty much on a continual cycle for the first few years. That because they are exploring their worlds as much as they are with full finger assaults and mouth close ups, they pick up lots of bugs and bacteria. And that I shouldn’t worry. And I don’t really. Because whatever, what will be will be. 

I expected Kale to get sick a fair amount the more he was exposed to other kids. We hit up Family Place usually once a week or so, and of course, Bonnie is over twice a week. Plus, we go out a lot, and spend lots of time in parks and wherever else we feel like going. So I’m not shocked that the wee man has already had a fair number of colds (I stopped counting a while ago, it seemed really pointless.) What I didn’t expect, however, was for Ross to be the one bringing the germs into the house. I swear to god every time I feel like Kale is on the mend and full of beans again, Ross walks in the door from work and announces he is feeling a bit sick. Seriously.

This most recent illneess Ross brought home about a week and a half ago, and Kale promptly fell ill a few days afterward. It’s mostly worked out of his system by now, but not before I’m prettty sure he gave it to Bonnie. The two of them have been snot-encrusted facial tissue consuming machines. But not me! HA HA! I dodged this bullet this time and feel FINE. HA! Suck on that, Cold!

We were watching on the news tonight about how sales of hand sanitizer are ridiculous right now, what with all this H1N1 frenzy. Hand sanitizer is like the SARS mask from a few years ago. A local company has come up with some sort of uber fancy pants new and exciting hand sanitizer and disinfectant that has actually been tested on H1N1 and is the Official Hand Sanitizer of the 2010 Olympics. Well, la-ti-da. This little tidbit of info actually prompted me to go hunting for a list of Official Olympic Suppliers. (That link is accurate, but the 2010 site will default everything to its main page presumably so you might surf to other pages out of curiosity,  so to get to the list, click “About VANOC” on the right, then “Sponsors and Partners”, and then you can select “official suppliers’.) SOme of them crack me up. I had no idea that the Olympics even needed an Official Bread and Baked Goods supplier.

Back to hand sanitizer. I’m annoyed by the popularity of hand sanitizer, to be honest. People forget that hand sanitizer, while convenient after visiting a port-a-potty at a festival, or perhaps after leaving the hospital, is not a replacement for washing your hands with good ol’ soap and water. Hot water. And really washing, with actual suds and lather, not just smearing some liquid soap around your palms for 2 seconds before rinsing.

Seriously, the best prevention of any sickness is by eating really well and sleeping well, and washing your hands regularly, none of which most people I know don’t do well or consistently.  Also, stuffing every toy you happen to pick up at the community toy box directly into your cakehole to find out what it feels like on your sore teeth – not such a great recipe for not spreading germs.

I refuse to be one of those parents hovering over my kid with a handi-wipe and a bottle of sanitizer. I want Kale to try dirt and sticks so that maybe they don’t become contraband. I want him to taste things and smell things and play with things that might just possibly have a germ or two on it. I’m okay with that. Experimentation is what’s going to help him learn and be excited and make decisions. Do I want a kid that hoards things because his mama wouldn’t let him touch them the first five years of his life?  No, absolutely not.

Kale likes washing his hands. I’m trying to get into the regular habit of us washing our hands together every time I wash mine. He likes to feel the water running and he seems to enjoy the slippery soap. He’s not quite at the stage where he can wash his hands himself but he doesn’t fight it, and that’s basically a WIN when you’re talking about a toddler.

What about you? Where’s your threshold for the kids in your life?

12 years ago


  1. YES! Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes. This crazy over the hand sanitizer is making me drink. Also, can we point out that anti-bacterial stuff is not going to help you not get sick from VIRAL infections? We, as humans, are built for a certain amount of dirt, and taking that away is making us weaker! Be careful, wash, eat well, sleep, etc, but let’s all realize that sometimes, you’re going to get sick. And that’s ok.

  2. I’m right there with you on a number of things. I don’t use hand sanitizer unless it is port-a-potty/there is nothing else related. Hand washing is a novelty right now for Moira so she is asking: “Hands!” all the time and her handwashing has increased a ton. So has mine for that matter since I’m trying hard not to get sick with all the germs the MISTER brings into the house! Just like Ross it is the Mister who is exposed to people all the time and is now the main germ carrier. In fact, he has been the sickest out of all of us lately. Moira caught a little cold but the Mister has been dying and I *knock on wood* haven’t gotten anything. I’ve read up a bit on preventing H1N1 and they also recommend using a neti pot and gargling with salt water so I am doing that every day too – plus actually taking my vitamins for a change.

    As for Moira – I’ve pretty much let her put anything that isn’t dangerous into her mouth. I know at the community centre it has grossed out other Mums (one Mum told me that she barely took her first child to the park when she was little because she was so afraid of germs – I won’t be inviting her over to my messy apartment anytime soon). Kids put things in their mouth and I have found the best way to deal with it was to not make a big deal out of it. Moira isn’t nearly has bad as she used to be – probably because I don’t make a big deal out of it.

  3. When I was crazy with OCD with germs, I hated hand sanitizer, because I didn’t like the idea of DEAD germs on my hands. Washing well was my key.

  4. Just wanted to point out:

    Wash your hands with hot water to stop the spread of the virus.

    True, frequent washing with soap and water is known to curb the spread of germs. The temperature of the water, however, makes no difference at all. In fact, a 2005 report in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found “no effect on transient or resident bacterial reduction” between people who washed their hands with temperatures ranging from 4.4-48.8 Celsius.

    The call: When it comes to washing your hands, hot is no more effective than cold.

  5. I had no idea! I’ll still wash with hot though. Mentally I am more likely to wash for longer if the water is warmer! 🙂

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