It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s time to get that holiday shopping done. It’s time to pull out all the cozy sweaters and get out the electric blanket. It’s time to put the lights on the house and decorate. It’s time to plan all those holiday parties and bake all those treats!
It’s also time to stock up on cough drops, tissues, soups and medicines!
It feels like we have a sickness cloud at our house that lasts from about November to March every year. With five kids at home, it seems that there is always someone who has the lingering cough or cold that hangs around forever. Sometimes it feels like we wouldn’t go anywhere or do anything for months if we were 100-percent diligent about not sharing our germs.
I still remember the December we had several years ago. We had family hanging out at our house for a few days prior to Christmas day. They had recently gotten over the stomach flu. Although I am really paranoid about the stomach bug, we decided to chance it and spend time with family. After all, Christmas without family is like birthdays without cake. For us, family really is what the holidays are all about!
Well, sure enough, Christmas morning came around, and my older daughter wasn’t feeling well. She started throwing up just as we were opening up presents! It was terrible! The worst part, though, wasn’t that she was throwing up, but that we knew we would be quarantined for the next several days. We had to cancel all our plans for having our Christmas dinner and all the other family things we typically do during the vacation time between Christmas and New Year’s. Not even the cousins who had already been sick wanted to hang out with us for fear of getting re-infected. (No, I’m not still bitter at all … I promise!)
It wasn’t until a couple of years later, after Kaitlyn had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, that we realized how bad it can be to be sick … especially with any kind of stomach bug. Not only does it throw off blood sugar numbers and keep you from hanging out with other people, but being sick can be downright scary. We’ve narrowly escaped having to go to the hospital a couple of times.
Since then, we’ve doubled our efforts to keep sickness out of our house. You can never be completely safe, but there are a lot of things we routinely do now during the winter months to avoid the germs as best we can:
1. Hand washing. This one is pretty much a no-brainer, but it must be done. Before meals. After being in public places. For a couple of my kids especially, it has become an obsession. My daughter Anna is over-the-top when it comes to how often and how thoroughly she washes. She doesn’t completely escape being sick, but I think it really helps.
2. Disinfecting. During the winter months, we try to disinfect regularly even when we don’t have germs going around our house. We clean door handles, light switches, TV remotes, sink handles, kitchen appliances … everything we can think of that gets touched a lot. I keep a couple of cans of disinfectant spray around, and that seems to help a lot as well.
3. Sick rooms. The last time we had the stomach bug at my house, we happened to have cousins visiting from out of town. It always seems to happen that way! When my two girls got sick, I kept them in my room, watching movies and reading books all day. They even had their meals in the room. By keeping them separated, we miraculously kept the germs to ourselves. Even though we were sharing the same house, not one of our guests got sick.
Good luck and best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.