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Good personal hygiene habits can reduce illness

In the last two months my son has come home sick from West Ashley High School.  I know that he got sick from school, because that is where he spends the majority of his time.  In a classroom full of other students that may or may not be sick.  From what we understand, the rules state that a child is not considered sick, until they are throwing up or running a fever.  If they are not showing those two symptoms then they have to be in a class room.  What if the child is not showing those symptoms?  Does that mean that they are not sick?  What if the child has visible signs of a cold such as a runny nose, constant coughing and an overall not feeling good?  What if the child has a Viral infection or bacterial infection?  How contagious are those?  I spent some time on the WAHS website and I see nothing that outlines what constitutes a sick child or when they are sent home to the parents.

I am no health expert but I have spent enough time in the medial field as an EMT and a ER tech to know the basics.  EVERYONE must practice good personal hygiene to prevent the catching of, and spreading of germs.  Germs/pathogens is what gets us sick.  I understand that our children must receive an education and that the public school systems have to implement rules that are for the good of everyone involved.  I also believe that rules should not be so iron clad that there is no room for common sense.

For instance, our son came down with Mono, and was sick beyond the allocated number of days that he was allowed to miss in one school year.  A doctors excuse was not good enough for school administrators.  We had to write a letter to the principal advising them that the doctors excuse was not fabricated, and that we did in fact see a medical physician that diagnosed him with mono.

Every single time my son comes home with an ugly cold, it circulates through our entire family which causes us all to make the trip to the doctor for shots, antibiotics, steroids and breathing treatments.  Initially, we wait and try all the over the counter drugs, like NyQuil, Dayquil. Sudafed, Benadryl, before we make the trek to HealthFirst in West Ashley.

I remember a time when a common cold would last me 48 hours to 72 hours, and then it would be gone.  In the last couple of years, I believe that the common cold virus has gotten progressively aggressive and uglier.  Maybe the over use, and abuse of antibiotics over the years, has allowed the virus strains to adapt and are more resistant to treatment.  If you are a medical expert or know more about how this is happening please weigh in on the comments section.

The bottom line is this.  We can help each other out, if we will just follow some common sense practices, with regards to personal hygiene.  I will list a couple below as a reminder.

  • cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze ALL THE TIME
  • wash your hands BEFORE you touch something in the kitchen
  • Use HOT water and SOAP when cleaning the dishes and pots and pans
  • wash your hands with SOAP and HOT water AFTER you use the restroom
  • do NOT shake hands or get close to other people if you KNOW you are sick
  • ENCOURAGE other people who ARE sick NOT to touch you or loved ones.  (do it in a loving but firm manner)
  • Do NOT share straws or drinking glasses with someone if they are sick
  • Do NOT put your hands up to your face after touching a door handle or elevator hand rail or elevator button.  If you can touch it IT can have germs that will possibly get you sick
  • keep hand sanitizer with you at work and use it OFTEN.  If you wind up touching office equipment that other people touch, USE the hand sanitizer, or wash your hands on a regular basis.  If others can touch it they can leave a nasty surprise for you.
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  1. James, my daughter in law (who is a medical student) told me this weekend that there are 699 different types of Rhinovirus (the kind that cause colds.) She said that you only get each one once and then develop antibodies for that one. So, chances are you may be now getting all the most virulent ones.

  2. Yipes, that is a bunch huh? Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  3. This is why we have a 504 plan in effect for Grace. CO states that she has to take the CSAP test, however last year there was a sick person in her room and due to her lung disease she ended up in the hospital for 5 days because a parent let their sick kid take the test. I call it the 50K CSAP. So, this year we have a one on one test and the proctor better not be sick!

    One person coughing can land Grace in the hospital on 3 or more liters of O2, last time at one point she was at 10 liters of O2. People don’t think about those with lower immune systems when they are sick. They touch books, dishes, cough in their hands and don’t wash their hands. People need to remember that colds can be deadly for some.

  4. Liese, so sorry to hear this. We had to watch Jessica closely during her last days because of this sort of issue. Her immune system had very little resistance to most things that normal people could over come.

  5. Cool blog!

  6. Hello! Just want to say thank you for this interesting article! =) Peace, Joy.