We find ourselves with at least a good month left of winter. Once we get past St. Patty’s Day, winter is over – or at least it should just throw in the towel at that point in my opinion. And that goes for all of the winter bugs, too! By that third week in March we’ve all had it with the cold temps, the snow and ice, and certainly with the germs! And for those of us with kids, that’s especially true.

There’s nothing worse than seeing a snotty and coughy kid in the vicinity of your kid. I’m sorry, but it’s true! What runs through my mind is, “Nooooo! Keep the germs away – I don’t need those germs around my family members or at my house! Sharing is NOT caring.” Let’s be honest, we all think it for the simple fact that we care about our child/children and we want them to be as healthy as they can be. But there’s no stopping bug and flu season, especially in the winter months. And almost all of our kids attend school, or daycare, or congregate with other kids … and they share their germs. There’s just no avoiding it. But it’s not just the kids: us adults can easily pick up germs when pumping gas, or grabbing a shopping cart at the grocery story, or or or… We can then bring those germs home and give it to our family members. So here’s your PSA reminder: wash your hands, and then wash them again.

The flip side of the coin is if your kid is the one who’s got the snotty nose and/or cough. I personally am very self-aware and am the overbearing helicopter mom covering my kids’ face when I sense an oncoming cough, pockets full of tissues, and all that jazz when we have to be out in public and or around other people when my kid is a bit under the weather. I try to be so respectful of others and their health. No one wants to be sick!

This winter seems to have been a little rough for us here in the region: the RSV virus has made its rounds, the flu also made some appearances, as did two stomach bugs. Yes, it’s been a fun season.

Between Ashley and I here at the Main Street Magazine office, our kids have gotten everything except the flu – KNOCK ON WOOD! Our schools and daycares have had the run of all of these illnesses, and we’ve watched quite a few of our kids’ friends be hit over and over again with one or more of these illnesses. Ours got them too, some worse than others. And I have to tell you, it’s rough when your kid is sick! You feel almost helpless, and you do everything that you can to make them feel better and bounce back … sometimes at your own health’s expense. But that’s just par for the course, right?

After surviving the last two months worth of illnesses, a recurring conversation we’ve found ourselves in has been about when it’s ok to send your child back to daycare/school and when it is not. Obviously the child has to be fever and symptom-free for 24 hours before returning, and most of us use our good judgment and assess our child’s health and needs before deciding to send them back. One part of this ongoing conversation (between not just Ashley and I but among parents in general) are about those who send their kids back to school or daycare when they’re not quite ready to return, or when one senses that their child might be coming down with something – and yet – they’re still sent to school… Yeah, we’ve all found ourselves a time or two giving a sideways glance at that one kid and you say to yourself, “Ummmm… yeah… that doesn’t look too good…” and then low and behold, they’re sick or get someone else sick. And you just pray it’s not your kid who’s the victim! I know that we’re all doing the best that we can and we are all working parents with deadlines, full schedules and work that needs to get done, but… ya know. It’s just not fair to your child, nor is it fair or respectful to their fellow students and families, nor to their teachers. I don’t mean to sound like I’m preaching or sitting on some high horse, and I certainly don’t want to come off as judgmental … yes, there’s a but… buuuut people’s health is at stake. An extra day (of snuggling and playing with your kid) can make a world of difference in helping them bounce back and avoid getting their friends sick.