Yesterday, Randy the perfekt husband called me AN ALARMIST. “Nu-uh”, I said. “Yu-huh,” he replied. “Oh? And what evidence do you have to support this?” I asked all sassy and more than a little annoyed. To which he proceeded to list the following:
1) The time I freaked out over the story that went around about gangbangers planning to shoot two women at our local Walmart as part of an initiation ritual….which, okay, turned out to be an urban legend.
2) The time I forwarded panicked emails about two SUSPICIOUS LOOKING GUYS seen hanging out at the local schools who turned out to be LANDSCAPERS trying to drum up business from the school district as a result of the bad economy.
3) And NOW he’s calling me an alarmist because of this SWINE FLU THING.
You’ve heard about it, right? This flu that’s going around that’s some weird mutation of pig, bird, cow and human viruses? That’s cropping up in countries and states faster than mushrooms in a humid climate. That we DON’T and WON’T have an available vaccine for for at least six months AND that the World Health Organization (WHO) has put at level 5 out of 6 on the pandemic scale!
I know I know. TMI (too much information–much of it unsubstantiated rumor). We’re bombarded by it. Also, I watch too many of those specials on the Discovery Channel. You remember how I watched the Discovery Channel’s special on the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake and was able to save Randy’s life as a result? Well, I ALSO watched THE END OF EARTH, a show that listed the top ten ways life on Earth would come to an end!
And guess what? Right up there with the extinction level meteor and that giant caldera under Yosemite that could blow sun-blocking ash over the entire planet was, yeah, you guessed it….a FLU PANDEMIC!
Okay. So I’m an alarmist. I prefer, however, to think of myself as just BEING A MOMMY. Firmly in the category of “better safe than sorry”. Because hey, we mommies worry. We worry about bullies and boo boos and yes, strange guys with weed whackers hanging out at our kid’s school. So now I’m worried about how to keep my kid healthy.
JUST FOLLOW THE PRECAUTIONS to AVOID GETTING SICK, you say? Have you actually READ THE PRECAUTIONS?!? Cuz I’m telling you, they weren’t written by anyone who has kids!
UNREALISTIC GUIDE ON HOW TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF SWINE FLU
1) Avoid close contact with people who are sick (which if you’re the parent of a child under 5 is completely unrealistic since they are ALWAYS sick).
2) Stay home when YOU are sick (which might not be tempting if you don’t get paid sick days and your mortgage payment is coming up).
3) Keep your kids home if THEY are sick. (I know this one’s tough. I have a lot of working mom friends-and dads too- who feel HAVE to be at their jobs or else…they won’t have one).
4) Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. ( I don’t know about you, but I’ve been reminding my kid to do this for over 6 years now and…I STILL have to remind her, every time she sneezes all over her bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios!)
5) Wash your hands regularly with warm soapy water and for as long as it takes you to sing the ABC song. (I’m lucky if I can get my kid to get to the letter “F” in her washing, let alone get her to add hot water to the cold. And that’s when I’m looking over her shoulder! I don’t want to think what’s going on at school).
6) Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. (Oh right, because kids NEVER pick their noses, put their dirty fingers in their mouths, or rub their eyes after touching something a million other kids have snotted or drooled all over).
Like I said, not very realistic guidelines if you have kids and jobs and mortgages. But short of digging a moat and pulling up a drawbridge, what can you do?
1) Well, we should at least TRY TO FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES. You never know…that one germ you Purell might be THE VIRUS.
2) TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES AND YOUR FAMILY. Healthy food, sleep, not stressing – these are all things that will help keep your resistance UP and keep you from getting the flu in the first place!
3) EMPOWER YOURSELF WITH FACTS not rumor. Knowledge is power. Here are some articles I found helpful and calming.
4) STAY CALM. WE DO NOT WANT TO SCARE THE CRAP OUT OF OUR KIDS! (Well, except for when it comes to stranger danger and those uncovered wells you sometimes read about it…oh yeah and leaving an open marker on the sofa).
5) Most importantly “USE YOUR SPIDEY SENSE”. All we moms have it. It’s that intuition/gut feeling that tells us if something feels right or wrong. Especially where our kids are concerned. If you have a concern, voice it. If a situation doesn’t feel right, act on that. Our priority as mommies is to protect our kids. If we failed to act on our good sense and intuition and something bad happened…now you’re talking SERIOUS GUILT!
Stay safe and healthy. This too shall pass.