It’s Not All Mary Poppins


Hang on while I dry my hands, okay?

There’s a cold going around. It’s just a cold. In the interests of all of our continued employment, I don’t make parents keep their children home for colds. If there’s a fever with it, yes, they stay home. If there’s a mystery rash with it, they stay home. But if it’s a garden-variety cold, just a cough and a snotty nose? Unless the child is so under the weather that they are miserable, they can come. Odds are they got the cold here, anyway.

I think I’ll just go wash my hands now. One of the kids just walked by the keyboard. You never know.

Lest your delicate blood pressures be pounding in your ears at the very thought of a sniffly, snotty child at daycare, remember that maternity leaves in Canada are a full year long. Thus there are very rarely any children less than a year or so old in my care. If I had a babe in arms in the mix, a solely breast-feeding child, I might be more protective/restrictive. But year old children? All of them walking, almost-talking, sturdy little bodies?

They can handle a cold.

I think I’ll just give my hands a quick scrub. Back in a sec.

So can I. Snotty noses don’t gross me out much, no matter how smeary. Coughs are worse, because — Agh! COVER! Cover your mouth!! — and sneezes? Sneezes can be deadly, wet and (ugh) loaded. Blergh.

I think I need more soap. This bar’s getting a bit thin.

Until this month, a snotty cold with a lot of sneezing was top of my “grossness of colds” list. But this month, with this virus, we have a new variant. And boy, it is making the rounds. One of the parents told me that 40 of the last 60 children her pediatrician had seen were sporting this symptom.

Not a cough. Not a particularly runny nose. Not even much in the way of sneezing. No fever, either.

No, with this cold, it’s the eyes. Gloppy, glorpy eyes.

Not as bad as sneezing, really, because they don’t spray the glop. Not even as bad as coughing, because again, no spray. And two of the families’ pediatricians say the same thing: just a virus, a weird cold variant, no cause for concern.

No cause for concern, as in, it’s not damaging them. But… blergh! Their red eyes! The goop in the corners! Great globs of whitish sludge clogging their eyelids and lashes. Poor babies. And poor me: bathing those eyes once or twice an hour. With a clean cloth. Every time.

And then washing my hands.

And washing some more.

And then I catch myself pushing my hair out of my eyes. And AGH! Did I touch my eye? Did I wash my hands? Maybe I should wash them again… I think I’ll wash them again. And wash them a second time, just to be sure.

I’m pretty sure the Creeping Eye Ick is not uncomfortable. The children with the goopy eyes are not rubbing them, or poking them, or evidencing any discomfort at all. In fact, they appear to be blissfully unaware that their eyeballs are rotting out of their wee sockets.

Which means that if I get it… I won’t know. Until I’m as gross as they are.

It’s a good thing I work from home.

For now, I rely on my much-vaunted cast iron immune system.

And a whole lot of hand washing.

Excuse me.

December 1, 2010 Posted by | eeewww, health and safety | 11 Comments