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 Post subject: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:52 pm 
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So yet another playdate, where the host had a kid that was coughing and snotty. But she said "Oh, just so you know its totally not contagious!" So I asked how long babies were contagious for, because I've always thought that if they were coughing and snotty, all those exciting fluids were basically rife with viruses and floating yuck. She said 2-3 days before any symptoms show up and then another 4-5 days. Anything after that is just their bodies dealing with the aftermath.

And then she said that any tummy issues are contagious a few days prior and then 2-3 days after they barf, and that their school had that as a rule - if you or anyone in your family has yacked from a tummy bug, you can't go to school for 2-3 days.

Dr Google says that kids are contagious as long as they appear sick. http://www.parents.com/health/cold-flu/ ... ontagious/

I keep Leela away from people until she is done with any symptoms and I keep her away from anyone who has symptoms, because her being sick is a nightmare - she doesn't sleep well, I don't sleep well and my poor immunocompromised husband is forked up for weeks.

I am starting to feel like I have a different standard from almost everyone I know. Is it really so unreasonable to think that kids are contagious as long as they have symptoms and people inviting you over should tell you that their kids are sick, even if they have been sick enough that you think that they are no longer contagious?

I feel like I need to lighten up because I can't control anyone and I don't want to be a freaky hermit lady all winter, but I also really love having a healthy kid and husband.

And is there anything I can do besides just keep her healthy, warm and hydrated? We do use Thieves Oil at the slightest sign of a cold, which generally knocks stuff out, but I'd love other ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:08 pm 
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Um from what I have generally understood, people's contagiousness with colds drops dramatically once they start feeling better. But I think cold viruses can survive outside the body for up to like 5 days, so I would worry about surfaces and toys still at that point. From what I understand they are *most* contagious before showing symptoms and right at the beginning of it, so it can be hard to avoid whatever you do. I gathered all this from reading a book on epidemiology and disease transmission from my hs's library back when I was like 16, but could not tell you the title in a million years.

It's tough and kind of annoying. At the risk of stereotyping, from personal observations I feel like parents of daycare kids have a different standard on this than SAHPs, since people still bring their kids into daycare with colds pretty normally unless there are more serious symptoms. And, I mean, if I had someone to take care of my sick kid while I devoted all my energies to nursing my own self back to health, I'd probably feel differently about it as well. I don't mean to start a working/not working parent war here or anything, but I feel like for me the consequences of illness are different, and the expectations of the places I go (play cafe, baby gym, gym childcare etc) are a lot less forgiving of kids with colds than more regular/full time childcare arrangements are. This is why I was so annoyed when V got sick at the CDC: it meant we got stuck inside for a couple of weeks and the whole family miserable and sick for days, all for less than 3 hours of childcare during a meeting. So not worth it.


ETA: I'm sort of facing this dilemma as well, hypothetically. My best friend has a little girl a few months older than V. We'd like to have them visit, but she's basically said that her kid gets sick a lot and I'd have to be ok with them coming if they were sick. I understand that canceling a trip might be a little over the top, and it's hard to predict when kids will be sick, but part of me is like, geez, just quarantine the kid for a few days beforehand!! But, of course, she can't do that because the kid goes to daycare every day but I feel like I'm being held hostage by the germs of every kid at their preschool.


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:18 pm 
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We were at the pediatrician on Monday since Sven had a stubborn cold with a nasty cough, and I asked her the same question. She said that once you see the snot turn thick and yellowish (I guess it's your body shedding white blood cells?) the general rule is that they're no longer contagious. She said that if I cleaned his nose up really well I shouldn't feel bad about bringing him in public.

That said, bringing him to the grocery store is a little different from bringing him to playgroup, in my opinion. I'm not comfortable bringing him around other kids deliberately until he looks back to normal, but we ran errands later that day. I get concerned when I see other kids with snotty noses and coughs, and I don't want other parents to feel the same way around my kid.

I've been using a few things for general immune support -- 1/2 teaspoon of elderberry syrup and a dose of an herbal children's immune support thingy (from my acupuncturist) daily.


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:18 pm 
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I had a thread like this a few years ago when baby Zoey was a baby. I was in the small minority of people who thought sick kids should stay home. I have just altered our lives to avoid sick kids as much as possible. I decided to quit the gym we were attending because baby Zoey was always getting sick there and then I would get sick. We were both sick for a couple months before I decided that I had had enough and we stopped going. Also if I go to a play date and kids are sick, we will leave early. I try to be nice about it since the general rule here is that sick kids are allowed everywhere.

I also joined a MOMs club which has members that are really good about keeping sick kids away from other kids since there are lots of newborns and pregnant moms in the group. I really appreciate that and it has made it so that we can stop going to some other events where we were more likely to run into random sick kids (the mall play area, library story time, etc).

I know there are some people who claim that kids are always sick and it is no big deal, but we have some special health issues (and it sounds like you do too), so we have just changed the way we do things.


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:23 pm 
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What I have read, also c/o Dr. Google (and what I operate on in terms of playdates) is that colds are contagious from a day before symptoms show up (which you can't predict) and up to 5 days after symptoms appear, so you may have symptoms and not be contagious anymore. I'm sure we all have had colds where the cough lasts for two months after the other symptoms go away - you're not still contagious all that time! And of course, the most dangerous time is right before the symptoms hit, so avoiding coughing kids is not really the most useful thing in terms of avoiding getting sick. The other piece is that you can't know who's carrying something but not visibly ill or what stuff they've carried into the house and deposited all over its surfaces. There is a limit to what can reasonably be controlled for when it comes to cold and flu. Kids get sick and it's a lot to ask that people stay out of society for weeks on end because there's a little sniffle that won't go away.

My personal philosophy is that most parents can't live in fear of colds because it just becomes insane - the curtailment of life is worse than the colds. At this point I don't even notice runny nosed kids anymore and just figure out the reality of toddlerhood is one long period of snot. You're in a special situation because of Brett's RA, but people don't necessarily know that about you and you may need to be more upfront - Brett really is the one who needs to be protected much more so than you or Leela who will rebound quickly. It's less on the other parents at that point and more on you to say, look, my husband will really have a problem if he gets sick, so warn me if your kid has symptoms even if you have every reason in the world to believe they're not contagious anymore.

Washing everybody's hands and often-touched surfaces frequently remains the most useful thing to do to prevent catching things. Carry hand sanitizer so you can clean Leela's hands before she eats dirt and snow and everybody else's food.


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:27 pm 
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The other thing is - is there anything Brett can do in terms of his medication that would help with his immune system? This might be a much smaller issue for you if you weren't in fear of his health on top of Leela's.


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:45 pm 
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My oldest is in preschool. Their school rules are you must stay home for 24hrs after vomiting or having a fever. I will send her to school with the sniffles or slight cough if it isn't slowing her down. If she is nasty dripping ball of snot she stays home regardless.

I'm warning you now...the first year of school or daycare is going to be rough on your household. I'm pretty sure she was sick the entire year last year. I was pregnant and miserable catching everything! Now she brings home germs, doesn't get sick, and gives them to her baby sister. Ugh. I'm super strict on hand washing/sanitizing and it still doesnt help. I'm hoping next year will be better.


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:46 pm 
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Its interesting that Dr Google gives us such different answers! I guess we find what supports our bias (though I pulled the first article I found).

Quote:
At this point I ... just figure out the reality of toddlerhood is one long period of snot. Brett really is the one who needs to be protected much more so than you or Leela who will rebound quickly.


Leaving Brett aside, its still annoying to have to spend weeks with a sick kid. In July L had a cold for 3 weeks, which just blew - I kept her away from people and we only re-entered the infant social circle once she was absolutely better. And Malka has now been sick for about 2 weeks, right? So its not like babies just get over it in a matter of a day or two.

For us toddlerhood has not been one long period of snot, Leela hasn't had one cold in 4 months, and I want to keep it that way. I definitely think its different if your kid is in daycare because then its pretty inevitable, because people do send their kids to school sick. One of our friends started daycare in October and has basically been sick ever since. She jokes that with all the sick time they've had to take she is now basically a stay at home mom.

I might have to look into that elderberry syrup, which I assume is just vit c. L does take a multi-vitamin, but a little extra C can't hurt...

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:04 pm 
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I like to warn people ahead of time if E has a cold. That gives them the chance to say don't bring that shiitake here. Almost no one ever does though, whether they have children or not.

Other than that, pretty much +1 to Ariann's post. At some point with E I just realized, I can do what I can do to protect him: get him vaccinated, make him wash his hands, not take him to visit people who are actively ill. Beyond that, it's pretty much out of my control unless I am going to stay in the house with him all the time/police who he's playing with and their health status/be in control of what he touches where etc. Once a kid reaches a certain age, that is just not feasible at all. (Maybe it never was for E.)

I think it's kind of oversimplifying to say that parents who work out of the home don't care if their kids get colds because someone else is going to be watching the kid. I think it's more down to the fact that parents who work out of the home don't have a choice really. Daycares = close quarters and shared toys = shared illnesses. When I was working full time, if E got a cold, that meant that what limited time I had to spend with him, he was miserable. And if I caught the cold too, I couldn't "devote all my energies to taking care of myself." I still had to go to work for a full day and then come home and care for a toddler with a cold.

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:09 pm 
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http://www.straightdope.com/columns/rea ... contagious
This was also the first link on my search, maybe we used different search terms. I didn't read anything else, as I generally trust straightdope.

I don't think it has anything to do with whether the parents stay home or not. Mr. A stays home with Malka and still doesn't give a shiitake about avoiding kids with obvious symptoms. Malka's been sick maybe three noticeable times in her life (including this one), which is still under the average and we've taken zero precautions to avoid common illnesses in her life beyond normal hygiene. And over the past two weeks of illness (she's all better now actually) we have gone out everyday but the puking day (when she had RSV, we went out on her puking days also because we were especially sure then that it was a mucus issue rather than a stomach bug then, looks like it was the same thing this time). We just don't let it cramp our style. Really, she's happy the whole time anyway (except for the puking - she did not like that, but she was only unhappy while it was actually happening), and if she's happy, I'm happy. I want to avoid things that could maim or kill her and take precautions in those areas; I'm not using any brain space on avoiding colds beyond normal hygiene practices, I just don't have it to spare at the moment.

And when I said toddlerhood was one long period of snot, I didn't mean each individual kid would be snotty all the time, just that the reality of hanging out with toddlers was that someone was going to be snotty all the time so I have resigned myself to be cool with Malka getting snotty if she does. I feel like most toddlers I see around work are constantly dealing with one annoying illness or another, some of them are in daycare, some at home, doesn't seem to matter.


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:30 pm 
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Thanks for the link. And yay for Malka being all better! Hopefully that means a playdate this Tuesday!

And just for the interest of accuracy, annak didn't say it was whether the parents stay home it is whether they are in daycare. Even the gym daycare may be a giant petri dish :)

Reasonable people differ for sure, and I don't do much to avoid colds past the normal hygiene either - I don't Purell the crepe out of my kid and she eats stuff at playdates that all the other kids are eating (today a single bagel got nommed by at least 4 kids). That said, I'd appreciate people giving me a heads up that their kid is sick and let me make the decision. And I do think its kind of inconsiderate to take your sick kid to a playdate with other currently not sick kids without a heads up. I think going places like the grocery store are fine, because you're not really sharing space and interacting the same way.

Really, my position on colds is the same as it was on chicken pox in the pox party portion of the vax thread. :)

I really enjoy having a not sick kid. Its pretty freaking awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:30 pm 
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It sounds like the parents.com link is wrong according to mandycoot's doc. And according to common sense (see: the lingering cough).
And: http://www.askdrsears.com/content/when-cold-contagious (says 24 hours prior to 5 days after onset)
And: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency ... 000678.htm (up to a week after onset)
And this, which is about flus, but gives the same time parameters, up to 5 days after onset of symptoms: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/qa.htm
And this: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold- ... d-symptoms (only contagious first 3 days of symptoms)

But Oprah says you're contagious till the last sniffle. So there ya go. http://www.oprah.com/health/25-Question ... h-Answered

And this other thing says before symptoms and then up to *three weeks* after onset of symptoms, which could be 2+ weeks after the symptoms subside. http://coldflu.about.com/od/faqaboutthe ... A-Cold.htm

In which case I freaking give up and feel like the choices are to deal with the inevitability of illness or become a hermit. In which case I will continue to follow the 5 days after onset rule for playdates and the *everybody just better watch out* policy for going to the grocery and such.

ETA: This covers all of the links in the first two pages of my google search not including b.s. ask random people on the internet what they think links.


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:34 pm 
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The gym daycare, the ASL class, the playdate in the park, the music class, the library that a hundred kids walk through each day and touch all the surfaces...

I kind of think the gym daycare is the cleanest of all since she's usually the only kid in her area/age group in there and they clean the place every day.


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:34 pm 
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HAHAHAAHAHAAHAHA!

Thank you for that! That is exactly what was driving me batshit. So apparently the playdate host was right and I don't need to worry that her kid was coughing in my kid's face and that my kid ate a bagel that her kid had just licked all the creamcheese off (#makesitvegan!)

I will reiterate that having a happy healthy kid is the best. Sick kids are generally snuggly, but L really has had the hardest time breathing when sick, so its meant a few nights of nearly no sleep, making sure she is propped up and draining phlegm. blerk.

ETA:: Where are you doing ASL? I need another course bc ours is ending....

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:37 pm 
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I think how much you care about your kid having a cold tracks with how badly they sleep when they have a cold. Malka responds well to Benadryl and she snores when sick, but doesn't have a hard time sleeping really.

ETA: We're not doing ASL, I was just including your germ factories in the list, too. We also have no playground playdates without you (or very rarely, with just RR).


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:43 pm 
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annak wrote:
But I think cold viruses can survive outside the body for up to like 5 days, so I would worry about surfaces and toys still at that point.


Now that I have read All The Links, I can say that the consensus seems to be a couple hours on surfaces, not multiple days.

Quote:
From what I understand they are *most* contagious before showing symptoms and right at the beginning of it, so it can be hard to avoid whatever you do.


The Dr. Google consensus seems to be at the 2-3 day mark, when symptoms are worse, is when you're most contagious.

Quote:
part of me is like, geez, just quarantine the kid for a few days beforehand!!


But even if your friend were a SAHP, how could they realistically quarantine a child? Would you not go outside for a few days? This just doesn't seem reasonable to me. I just couldn't stay at home for multiple days alone with a child.


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:43 pm 
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Yes, that makes sense. Leela breathes like she's part squid...

I love ASL. I really want another course, but ideally one with a bigger group - on the good days we have 4 kids and its perfect, but if its just 2 (as it is atm) then it devolves into not usefulness. Its as not useful as a DVD but far more expensive.

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:13 pm 
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annak wrote:

It's tough and kind of annoying. At the risk of stereotyping, from personal observations I feel like parents of daycare kids have a different standard on this than SAHPs, since people still bring their kids into daycare with colds pretty normally unless there are more serious symptoms. And, I mean, if I had someone to take care of my sick kid while I devoted all my energies to nursing my own self back to health, I'd probably feel differently about it as well. I don't mean to start a working/not working parent war here or anything, but I feel like for me the consequences of illness are different, and the expectations of the places I go (play cafe, baby gym, gym childcare etc) are a lot less forgiving of kids with colds than more regular/full time childcare arrangements are. This is why I was so annoyed when V got sick at the CDC: it meant we got stuck inside for a couple of weeks and the whole family miserable and sick for days, all for less than 3 hours of childcare during a meeting. So not worth it.

This is really unfair and needlessly provocative. I could respond with a few "observations" about SAHP but I won't because that would be unfair and needlessly provocative. Framing something like this with "I don't want to start a war" doesn't really make it nicer.

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:50 pm 
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Ariann wrote:
I think how much you care about your kid having a cold tracks with how badly they sleep when they have a cold. Malka responds well to Benadryl and she snores when sick, but doesn't have a hard time sleeping really.


Benadryl is an antihistamine, and should be used not for colds and flus but for allergies. It's listed as "for cold symptoms" because often either people don't know the difference between colds and allergy attacks and because it's sometimes mixed with other drugs that work on different cold symptoms (like DXM and stuff for coughs).

You also shouldn't give it to anyone under 2 ever, or anyone under 6 unless your doctor says to.

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:54 pm 
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We give it on the advice of our pediatricians for really problematic cold symptoms, it may be that there are multiple things causing the symptoms and that's why it works, I don't know.

This dosing chart is for kids 6 months and up (not from our peds, but agrees with theirs):
http://www.centralarkpediatric.com/wp-c ... nadryl.pdf


Last edited by Ariann on Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:57 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
Ariann wrote:
I think how much you care about your kid having a cold tracks with how badly they sleep when they have a cold. Malka responds well to Benadryl and she snores when sick, but doesn't have a hard time sleeping really.


Benadryl is an antihistamine, and should be used not for colds and flus but for allergies. It's listed as "for cold symptoms" because often either people don't know the difference between colds and allergy attacks and because it's sometimes mixed with other drugs that work on different cold symptoms (like DXM and stuff for coughs).

You also shouldn't give it to anyone under 2 ever, or anyone under 6 unless your doctor says to.


Our MD recommends Benadryl for "drying out" runny noses for colds.

The 2 or under restriction was a result of Benadryl being picked up by the ban on all OTC cold remedies for children under 2, even though it doesn't work the same way they do.

I just prefer Thieves Oil :)

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:00 am 
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For my own sake, I use benadryl for my runny noses caused by colds - it's the only thing that just plain works and runny noses are the most annoying thing ever. I'm pretty sure those runny noses are not allergy related, since they come in conjunction with a normal pattern of cold symptoms and I don't get runny noses when I'm having an allergic reaction.

ETA: Benadryl is ALSO a miracle allergy drug, but it seems to work, for reasons I am not totally clear on, for non-allergy caused runny noses and post-nasal drip.


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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:11 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
I just prefer Thieves Oil :)

Come on, come make fun of me for my woo.


It's a household cleaner AND a mouthwash!

Cloves and stuff, yum. I bet it smells really great. It probably works because you spend the whole time salivating and thinking of cookies and stuffing and stuff and forget to feel sick... 8)

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:16 am 
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Pity mocking me with cookies? I see how it is s'nation. I see....

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 Post subject: Re: How long are kids colds contagious?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:49 am 
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Vantine wrote:
annak wrote:

It's tough and kind of annoying. At the risk of stereotyping, from personal observations I feel like parents of daycare kids have a different standard on this than SAHPs, since people still bring their kids into daycare with colds pretty normally unless there are more serious symptoms. And, I mean, if I had someone to take care of my sick kid while I devoted all my energies to nursing my own self back to health, I'd probably feel differently about it as well. I don't mean to start a working/not working parent war here or anything, but I feel like for me the consequences of illness are different, and the expectations of the places I go (play cafe, baby gym, gym childcare etc) are a lot less forgiving of kids with colds than more regular/full time childcare arrangements are. This is why I was so annoyed when V got sick at the CDC: it meant we got stuck inside for a couple of weeks and the whole family miserable and sick for days, all for less than 3 hours of childcare during a meeting. So not worth it.

This is really unfair and needlessly provocative. I could respond with a few "observations" about SAHP but I won't because that would be unfair and needlessly provocative. Framing something like this with "I don't want to start a war" doesn't really make it nicer.


My experience since we started daycare in October has been that you all get sick at the same time. I wish I could send F. To daycare while I stay at home and recover. It is not the case. Right now and for about the third time since October both my partner and I are home on sick leave, both feeling pretty shitty and we still have to take care of our sick child. It means we all are not getting better because we don't get much rest.

I can send my kid to daycare with a light cold I do. I or my partner can not call in sick every time she has one.


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