This post is written and originally posted on Heart Savvy Momma. Heart Savvy Momma was created by Erica Thayer, co-founder of Project Heart.
It’s here, guys. Flu season is upon us. I took my kids for their well checkups today and their pediatrician said she has already personally seen 3 cases of the flu this month. Ugh. Needless to say, we all got our flu shots today. Winter can bring on a little anxiety if you are the parent of a child with CHD or other complex medical needs. It’s a real fear that a cold or illness could land your child in the hospital. So what can we do to keep our children from getting sick?
Sing it from the roof tops, ladies. Don’t be afraid to tell people how important it is that your child keeps from getting sick. You don’t have to be pushy and annoying about it, but you don’t have to be silent either. Every year I post a cute photo of the kids at the doctor’s office when we get our flu shots. Just to remind everyone we love to go get their flu shot too and tell them why it is so important for our family.
When Calvin was an infant my husband and I were very upfront with others about how getting sick could be fatal for him. We would check in with friends and family before attending get togethers just to make sure no one was sick before we came. We skipped out on many events if someone was feeling “a little off” or had “just some allergies.” Everyone was understanding and did their best to help us (with frequent reminders).
Here are some tips you are probably already doing at home, but it never hurts to have a good reminder:
I’m going to make some enemies on this one, but it needs to be said. Getting your flu shot every year and keeping up to date with recommended vaccinations goes a long way towards keeping our kids healthy. The flu shot does not ever cause the flu (read that again if you need to). Also, babies with certain CHDs are eligible to receive the Synagis vaccine to protect them against RSV before age 1 (in some cases, up to age 2).
Vaccinations are something we all need to educate ourselves about from reliable resources. Medical journal articles about vaccine safety, the CDC‘s commonly asked questions, or an educated doctor that you trust are all a good start. Don’t take my word for it. I’m a mom and started this blog with a $40 WordPress theme, just like everyone else with a blog. So don’t let the mommy bloggers scare you either, do your own research.
You mommas are smart. You keep your kids safe and that’s a good thing. But remember to reassess your child’s restrictions as they age. When Calvin was an infant he was very fragile. He had a shunt that caused his oxygen levels to fluctuate with no notice. One moment he would be fine, the next he would be sating in the low 50s. He could not get sick. We were reclusive that winter because we had to be. He didn’t go anywhere but his crib, our living room, my arms, and the doctor’s office (in his carseat hidden under a blanket).
I had cabin fever big time and I was straight up crazy! But, it was just a season. At age 4.5 months he had his second heart surgery and was much more stable. No more shunt meant we didn’t have to be quite as reclusive. Our lives completely changed! We went to the zoo, playgroup, church, and a few months later even braved starting daycare. Although my son’s set of heart defects is pretty severe, it does not mean he can’t see the light of day during the winter. It just means we are more careful about how we go about it. While it’s good to be careful, you also don’t want to go too far towards crazy. Talk to your child’s doctor to see just how careful you need to be in keeping your child from getting sick. Happy flu season!