"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Avoiding the Pukes aka Tempting Fate

So here's a post that's really going to tempt the karma gods. I'm going to hit Publish and then start furiously knocking on wood.

And then I'll wash my hands.

Here's the thing. The dreaded stomach bug has been ravaging our community since just after Thanksgiving. It's everywhere. Evan's elementary school has been hard hit, it tore through Max's preschool, Molly's music class has been abuzz with tales of three days' worth of laundry piling up over the course of six hours, playdates have been cancelled, and messages of surrender are filling up my newsfeed.

It's a nasty, super contagious bug.

It doesn't help that not all parents are making good choices about their kids' sickness....take, for instance, the time I went to pick Evan up from school with a phantom fever. The kid sitting next to him in the clinic said to me, "He's going home? Me, too. My tummy hurts. I threw up all day yesterday and last night but my mom said I could go to school today." Thanks, Mom. Thankfully, Evan didn't catch that kid's pukes.  Then there was the time, at music class, when a mom and her adorable-but-dripping-from-every-facial-orifice kid "J" came and sat down next to me and Molly. "Ugh," she lamented to the mom on her other side, "J's a mess but you should see T. He's been puking for more than 24-hours! I'm just waiting for the rest of us to pick it up." Um, and now so are we.

But those are probably the minority of stories. The truth is, this bug is everywhere. And so are we. So we have to protect ourselves. We've had a strict Shoes Off, Hands Washed policy when entering the house for as long as we've had kids. But we've still always managed to pick up the occasional bout of strep throat or an ear infection or, in Max's case, recurring cases of bronchiolitis. So far this winter? Nothing. Well, not nothing. Evan has had two phantom fevers since school started in August, but I'm pretty sure he can will himself into those. And I had a terrible sinus infection in the fall, but, miraculously none of the kids came down with any symptoms.

We've been exposed to more kids and more sickness than ever before with all three of our kids involved in outside-of-the-house activities. And somehow, we are healthier than we've ever been.

(Hear that knocking? Knuckles to table. Knuckles to table.)

Ready for our secret?

You guys: Run, don't walk, to pick up a stash of PROBIOTICS. We've been adding powdered probiotics to the kids' morning orange juice since August. We stated Evan on them when he was so sick last spring. When I asked the pediatrician when we should get him off of them, she said, "Oh, why would you? My daughter and I take them every day." She went on to say that they're such a great way to maintain digestive health, which, in turn correlates very strongly with overall health. We started Max and Molly on them shortly after that doctor's visit, and I plan to keep them on them...at least through the winter.

Lesson Learned:
Okay, don't run straight to the pharmacy. Talk to your doc, first. But ask about using probiotics. We use Culturelle Kids, which is a flavorless powder. There are pills and chewable, too, I think.

But, after the number of puking kids we've encountered, and the lack of puking going on in this house, I'm convinced.

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