Last modified: July 9, 2019
Melissa RobertsonView Full Profile
I’m just gonna say it- we’ve all been to that one family get together where someone has come who is obviously sick but trying to play it off like they are not contagious.
If you have been this person, this post is for you. If you have been victimized by that person, this post is for sharing and tagging.
For me it happened on Christmas 2014. We planned an early get together with my side of the family as my family and I were leaving on a trip to Disney right after Christmas. My kids were filled with the insane amount of energy that comes with the anticipation of the holidays mixed in with the buzz of a family vacation. As soon as we entered my sister’s home they began bouncing off the walls with the cousins.
With the exception of one.
My nephew was uncharacteristically quiet and still. It didn’t take long until I heard it. The unmistakable rattle of a deep and wet cough that only comes from a viral infection.
He coughed so hard that the family instinctively leaned in to help in some way. Whether he needed water or a tissue or more likely, a doctor.
My mothering instincts clicked in on a different level. I pictured his germs flying through the air like some sort of viral confetti.
I began gathering my family members in an effort to ward off the inevitable.
Protecting my Family
I wondered who it would strike first. If the nights of wrapping and stress writing Christmas cards and to do lists would take me down as the matriarch.
How could I fight through the crowds at Disney if I was fighting off a nasty cold?
Perhaps the nights of holiday comfort eating would strike my husband with the infamous man-cold.
It hit the kids. Of course.
Despite my insistence that we thank each other for gifts from a distance and do Christmas waves instead of hugs.
I still have pictures of my then almost four year old asleep on a beach chair because despite feeling rotten, we wanted her to experience the best weather day we had.
Why is it so Easy to Get Sick in a Small Space?
Of course we didn’t really have much of a chance to avoid the virus in such a confined space. Despite trying to add some distance between my family and the cougher, (formerly known as my nephew), there was just too much stacked against us.
Even if my nephew only coughed once (it was a million times) the bacteria from coughs and sneezes can stay in the air for up to 45 minutes.
According to the CDC, most viruses are spread through touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face.
The average person touches their face every three minutes. Add in a bowl of shareable snacks on the coffee table and we didn’t have a chance of getting out there without at least one of us getting sick.
Just Say ‘no’ to Easter
Fast forward to this Easter. My youngest came home from my mom’s house for the weekend with a sore throat and cough. She spent a day or two home with me. My middle child, being a crafty kid with a plan let me know that now she was ‘sick’ and needed to stay home with me the day before the Easter weekend.
“That’s fine,” I told her. “But if you are too sick for school you are too sick for Easter.”
My husband and I have a large and complicated family. Easter is a holiday weekend spent travelling from home to home to visit, eat and possibly spread germs.
My husband and I instantly began fantasizing about the possibility of taking turns staying home with our ‘sick’ child and spending days binge watching Netflix in our pajamas rather than trying desperately to limit sugar intake and make polite conversation with the in-laws.
Predictably, my daughter decided that since she was indeed perfectly healthy she would choose to go to school instead of miss the sugar free for all which is our Easter plans.
The Visit Isn’t Worth the Virus
If she was truly sick, we would be keeping her home. As much as we would love the break from back to back family plans, it really just isn’t worth it on so many levels. The sick person really needs time to rest and recover rather than socialize and spread their germs. As much as they may be ‘missing out’ by staying home, others are missing out on a nasty viral or bacterial infection that could always lead to something worse, especially if someone in the family has a compromised immune system.
A Physician in your Pocket
Many parents find themselves with sick kids on the holidays and are unsure of how and where to find medical help. Luckily, there is an easy way to travel with the peace of mind that comes with having a physician in your pocket-Your Doctors Online. With Your Doctors Online you are able to connect with a real North American doctor 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Don’t rely on google when you can ask a real doctor for the best medical advice for your family. Download the free app today.
Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.