I've been blogging about my children being sick, meaning that I am not out to hide this. In fact, we have known for a while that November is going to be a difficult month where the flu (any flu) is concerned. Life goes on as usual for us, and we do not particularly try to avoid crowded places or people we think may be sick etc. I may even have been trying to expose my children and myself to the circulating viruses, hoping to catch them and be done with being sick before the Christmas holidays begin. The important thing is to be informed about available treatment and to have some faith in the existing health system. So I wasn't complaining when they fell sick last week, and am certainly not out on a witch hunt to find out where and how they got sick.
My children, like Hub and myself, rarely fall sick (touch wood). I am not a paranoid parent. I am not very strict with hygiene. I do not recall having sterilised milk bottles when they were babies (just rinsed them in hot water) and none of them had colic or whatever. We eat quite local when we travel (without taking obvious risks, of course) and I've fed them curries since they were in the womb. I don't rush to the A&E for nothing and I don't go crazy over homeopathy. When there is a fever, I administer paracetamol and lots of vitamin C, towelling the patient down if necessary and above all, I give him a bottle of water and advise him to sleep, play, watch TV with it. If he feels up to it, he can eat fries, drink coke and eat ice cream. I don't have a problem with that. I probably subscribe to the belief that half of any illness is psychological.
Thus far, the kids have always been good sick patients. They don't spend their time when they are sick feeling or acting sick. They recover quite quickly most of the time and they stay healthy more often than sick. I am probably just lucky, but I think that my non-smothering attitude towards illness has some part to play in it.
So I guess I wasn't too sure how to act/react when I had a few mothers interrogating me in the last few days about my children's illnesses. I thought it was done out of goodwill, but subsequent remarks like "I wouldn't send him on the trip if I were you" or "If you don't call the teachers to find out how he's doing, I will" led me to suspect that they were really more worried about whether my child would pass on some virus to theirs than the poor child's actual state of health. Or they thought the teachers wouldn't know how to call me if he's sick.
I do not want to play down their concerns, and I certainly wouldn't deliberately let my children out to spread disease, but even if the Teenager still has something to pass on to his friends, they could ironically catch it from someone else, after all there were people at the train station, in the train, at the hotel, in the streets etc. For all you know, some of those kids could be at the tip of a coming illness (without knowing) when they set out for Munich. And while he wasn't 48 hours free from fever, he had been well for at least 36 hours and as far as I know, he was fine the whole of yesterday. Plus they are not in Africa, they are in Munich - the richest city in Germany. I'm sure they have good hospitals there. And if you think about it, Baby Boy was well for more than 56 hours before he fell sick again.
What I would like to know is what the etiquette is for dealing with that? Do I play along, apologise and act worried when I'm not so that I can reassure them in their need to worry? Or do I, like Hub suggested, just tell them to have a life and leave the poor children to their fate : to catch a virus or not to catch one?
PS : By the way, we do not know if any of the children had flu. I only mentioned they had fever and 2 coughed. The doctor said they don't test anymore for H1N1. It could be just a cold for all you know.