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Parents Get Sick Too!

I know you must be tired of hearing all the talk about illnesses, but unfortunately it is THAT time of year, and a few more weeks of sick season is...

I know you must be tired of hearing all the talk about illnesses, but unfortunately it is THAT time of year, and a few more weeks of sick season is still ahead of us. 

I am seeing plenty of coughs and colds and it is not only among the children in my office. Many parents who are bringing in their children are just as sick as their kids.  They often ask me why they are getting sick.  Most of these parents have small children typically between the ages of 1-3   years. The sickest of the parents seem to be those who have toddlers, especially when it is their first child.

Now, I love toddlers, but one thing they have in common is that they are like little petri dishes full of germs. I affectionately call them, “snotty nosed toddlers”. Before I was a parent myself I swore that I would “never have a child with a green snotty nose”. Well, after 3 children who had more snotty noses than I dare to count I now know that this too is a phase of life, that will pass.  But before it passes that precious “snotty” toddler will manage to give their parents lots of germs. 

Many parent tells me that they have already had 2 terrible colds, 1 mystery fever, and some vomiting and diarrhea, and their child is just 2!  “How much longer will this go on”, they ask?  Or I hear, “this couldn’t be normal, we all must have a problem with our immune system?” This is probably not an immune problem, it is just yet another perk of parenting. It actually means you are a good parent as you are spending time with that precious toddler, who is often coughing in your face as you play piggy back or tell them a bedtime story.

The only way to help prevent this plethora of viral illnesses is to practice good hand washing, begin to teach that toddler how to cover their mouth when they cough and know that this “normal”.  But even with that advice expect the first several years of parenting to involve illness for both child and parent.

Rule of thumb seems to be, once the last child in the family turns 3, the illness roller coaster will slow down!  There will be other issues ahead but not as many colds.

That’s your daily dose for today.  We’ll chat again tomorrow.

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About Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award winning pediatrician and medical editor for www.kidsdr.com.  She is a native of Washington, D.C. who travelled south to attend the University of Texas at Austin and never left.Read More

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