Monday, 29 November 2010

What's your illness etiquette?

There are a few things that nobody tells you about having a baby, like all the washing you suddenly have to do and how they get one cold or illness after another (which often you catch too).  I rarely used to get colds but since my son has been born, I've probably had more in these past two years than I ever had in my lifetime!

It's that time of year right now where there seem to be lots of germs around, colds and other bugs spreading like wildfire. I guess it's partly because we're all enclosed indoors now that it's got cold. Unlike in the summer when you can be outside in fresh air, we get stuck in confined spaces with each other in the winter!

As a mum, you quickly learn that consideration for others goes out the window when it comes to your child's illnesses. Maybe for the first ever cold your child gets, you keep them away from other babies, kindly not wishing to spread the germs to other helpless creatures. Yet, before long, you find yourself surrounded by runny noses galore! People don't feel the need to keep their child away from others when he or she is ill. I guess they think that at some point sooner or later, the other children will catch something themselves anyway so what's the point in keeping them away.

A few of my mummy friends have recently started their two-year olds in nursery for a few mornings a week and so I've been hearing about their experiences. You're always told that once they start school, they're forever ill with something and that seems to be the case for a lot of the people I know. These mums are paying for the mornings at nursery and as you know, they don't come cheap. When their child gets ill, they send them into nursery regardless as they don't want to lose out on the money they've spent.

A cold is one thing but when children are sent to nursery or playgroups with something highly contagious, I think that's a different story and shows a lack of parental responsibility. It's really not fair to inflict something contagious and likely rather miserable to other children. It's not something they will inevitably get like a cold and so why should they be put at risk of catching something nasty because another parent didn't keep their child at home?

I'm more relaxed with something like a cold and will still take my son to a playgroup if he has a bit of a runny nose. When it comes to something contagious or more unpleasant, I wouldn't take my son to mix with other children. I wouldn't, because I don't think it's fair to the other children but also because I'd like to think other parents would have the same respect for my child and his peers in the same situation. What frustrates me is when parents don't share the same attitude and respect, which seems to be the case more often that not.

What are your views? Do you think I'm being a bit over-sensitive? Is it something that you view differently when your children start school and begin mixing more regularly with more children?


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  1. I know what you mean. Amy comes home from school sometimes saying "such-a-body is full of a cold" and "such-a-body-else has been coughing all day" etc. This really annoys me. I understand that some parents go out to work and find it very difficult if their child needs to stay home because of illness, but at the end of the day, and I won't be very popular for saying this, if they don't want to take that responsibility, they shouldn't have children. And that goes for the men, too.

    CJ xx

  2. I think it really depends on how ill they are... If they've the remnants of a cold I normally think it's ok to send them into school - but I certainly wouldn't if it was anything more serious.

    Like you I think it's a matter of respect.

  3. I didn't even take my children to playgroups with a runny nose! Does that make me nuttier than you? I think little bodies need time and care to get well again and that running around spreading germs is definitely not the way to go. Even now I'll keep my teen children at home if they have a bad cold. One day off school works like magic!

  4. Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you seem to be of the same viewpoint as me.

    CJ - I know exactly what you mean about parents taking responsibilty - that's part of being a parent after all!

    Maryse - I think you're right that a day off can make all the difference. Rest is often a great cure.


Thank you for reading. I'd love to have your comments and thoughts!