This article originally appeared on 01.30.20
It’s cold and flu seasons, folks. During this time of year, we’re all on a mission to avoid the demon viruses that threaten to invade our bodies and wage Armageddon on our immune systems.
But no matter how much vitamin C we consume or how diligently we wash our hands, we still have to rely on others to be smart about exposing people to their sick germs. And that goes doubly for kids, who inexplicably do things like lick their own palms and rub communal crayons under their noses.
That’s why a mom’s recent Facebook post about keeping kids home when they have a fever has been shared more than 170,000 times. Samantha Moriá Reynolds shared a photo of a thermometer with a temperature of 101.4 with the following message:
This morning, Sam woke up and noticed her son wasn’t feeling well.
Sam took her son’s temperature, and wow! A fever.
Sam gave her son Tylenol and then…
Sam did NOT send her son to school.
Even after the fever went down a couple hours later, Sam did NOT send her son to school.
Sam missed work knowing that the well-being of her son and the kids who attend his school is more important than work missed.
Sam’s son was invited to THREE birthday parties over the weekend. Sam’s son has been so excited to go, but he will unfortunately also have to miss them because Sam’s son is SICK. Sam knows passing along a sickness would not be a great birthday gift regardless of how bummed her son may be.
Sam knows her son is still contagious until he is fever-free, WITHOUT medication, for 24 hours. If Sam’s son is running a fever at 7am on Sunday, Sam’s son will also not be attending school on Monday.
Be. Like. Sam.
Some parents will give their kids fever-reducing medication, the fever will go down, the kid will feel a bit better, and off they go to school. But fever meds like Tylenol don’t do anything to kill the virus that’s infecting the kid’s body. They just mask the symptoms of the illness and provide some relief to a miserable kiddo. If a fever goes down with medication, the child is still sick and still contagious.
The same goes for adults who try to tough it out by popping a Dayquil before heading off to work. If you want to infect your coworkers and make them hate you, keep doing that.
Granted, some parents may have a hard time finding childcare or taking time off work, and there’s a lot to be said for employers being understanding and granting leave to care for sick children. Our whole society needs to work together on this front to make sure people don’t feel like they have no choice but to send a sick kid to school. But that starts with parents insisting that their feverish kids stay home from school until they are no longer a threat to other people’s health and well-being.
The coronavirus outbreak keeps making headlines and the mounting death numbers from it are making people nervous, but the truth is that the plain old flu already kills thousands of Americans every single year. This season, more than 8,000 people have already died from flu and flu complications, and we’re still in the thick of the season.
The best way to keep illness from spreading is to stay away from other people when you are sick and to keep sick kids home until they are fever-free for 24 hours.
Be like Sam. Keep sick kids home. It takes a village to keep us all healthy.