I called the pediatrician, who said "anyone with a fever probably has swine flu; it is too early for seasonal flu. If their fever doesn't go below 104 degrees on Motrin, or they can't breathe, go to the hospital. Otherwise, treat the symptoms and stay home - we can't do anything to help you and we don't want to help it spread by having infected people coming here."
It all had the feeling of the inevitable about it. It started about a week and a half ago - suddenly every Mom I knew had at least one sick child, and absentee rates at school skyrocketed. We did everything we could to avoid it - obsessive hand-washing, staying away from visibly sick kids, getting a lot of rest. It swept through our town like wildfire. After all the media hype, it was hard not to feel like if we got it, we were doomed.
We can't live our lives in fear, but as a parent it is hard to know exactly what to do. The temptation to keep the kids home, to avoid playdates and soccer games, is huge. Greta had heard enough about H1N1 at school to be afraid - when she first got sick she panicked. "Oh NO! I have it, don't I?" she cried. "Am I going to die?"
The only weapon I felt like I had - the vaccine - wasn't available anywhere. So we just braced ourselves, and hoped for the best. Don't get me started on the whole vaccine situation .. I tend to go into a rant about it. We're lucky - our kids are healthy - we aren't in a high risk group. But my heart goes out to those who are - it is inexcusable that the vaccine is in such scare supply, even for those who really need it. I'm still of two minds about the vaccine, anyway. There is so much that is unknown about it - whether or not it really helps, what the side effects are. What it came down to for me was this: if my kid got sick, and I hadn't done everything in my power to help, I would feel terribly. Knowing a vaccine exists out there - somewhere - and not being able to get my hands on it was very frustrating.
I think we live in an era of too much information. When I was a kid we didn't have months and months of media hype warning us of impending sickness. We didn't have flu vaccines. If we have the capability of figuring out viruses, how to de-code them (or whatever it is they do), how they are spread, their origins - if we're going to know that much, we should be able to help people do something about it. Just my two cents.
So we're muddling through. I am very grateful that it isn't worse.