Swine flu: How freaked out should Mommas be?
My son has asthma and had a flare up this week. I started thinking, irrationally of course, could this be connected to the recent swine flu outbreak? Well, of course it's not. But as Mommas, when you are bombarded with news about a health crisis, you automatically think first about your kids and keeping them safe.
With just a few possible cases in Florida (and one of those in Pinellas), we have been going on about our daily business. The kids are in school, we plan to go to a couple of events this weekend and we definitely expect that we will see lots of people while we are out. And even though I know that swine flu hasn't reached our area in any great numbers if at all, I will do a couple of things that I always do to keep my family as healthy as possible.
We will wash our hands frequently. This is a no brainer because there are germs -- not just swine flu -- all around us. More than 35,000 people die each year in this country from the flu so we should be doing this anyway. When you touch a shared surface, like doorknobs, shopping carts and playground equipment, wash your hands.
We'll keep some anti-bacterial hand sanitizer and wipes handy when we can't get to soap and water. The folks at Energizer Personal Care, the makers of Wet Ones, are donating 500,000 packages of the wipes to the areas hardest hit by swine flu. The company is also offering $1 off coupons for antibacterial wipes online to make the product more accessible to people who need it across the country. Sure, it's a blatant attempt to get you to buy their product but if you're trying to keep the germs to a minimum, you might as well save a buck while you're doing it.
I'll do my best to make sure the kids keep their hands out of their mouths. Fidgety kids sometimes start gnawing at a nail. I'll try to keep my eye out for that. And if we are eating out, I'll make sure that they wash their hands before the food comes, which is what we do at home anyway.
No less than President Obama says washing your hands is the right thing to do. And we Mommas have been saying it since the dawn of time. And, of course, Momma knows best.
-- Sherry Robinson
[Times files of a little one washing his hands at a petting zoo]