Autumn in New Mexico is beautiful. It brings chile roasting, perfect temperatures, and pumpkin-flavored everything! It also brings something a little more anxiety provoking. . . cold and flu season. With fall in full swing, it’s time to start thinking of sickness prevention. Doing one simple thing can make all the difference to surviving the season: please stay home if you’re sick.
The $600 Cold
Last October, we welcomed our long-awaited baby boy. He came into the world a bit prematurely after multiple miscarriages, fertility treatments, and a high-risk pregnancy. I was extremely protective of him, especially with the severe cold and flu season. Our family took strong preventative measures. Nothing would endanger our miracle baby if we could help it.
Despite our best efforts, baby’s big brothers caught a cold and passed it to him.
Things came to a head a few days into the illness when he just wasn’t acting “right.” He was spitting up a lot and was lethargic. His usual smiles were gone.
We took him to the emergency room and the next thing I knew, my 3-month-old was in the hospital. Seeing a young child hospitalized is always difficult. And now it was my baby boy lying there. It was just surreal to me that this precious little guy I prayed and fought so hard for was in the hospital bed, listless and sad. You can’t take for granted that a small baby will be just fine. It was a very scary time.
After several days, baby improved enough for discharge, but it was nearly a month before he was completely well. The hospital bills rolled in and we tried to find the humor in the situation. When all was said and done, our portion of the bill was over $600 . . . for a COLD. After prayers of thanks that the cost was only financial, we began referring to the whole episode as “The $600 Cold.”
This experience made me think about the importance of staying home if you’re sick. A cold may not seem like a big deal, but it can be devastating to certain populations. Cold and flu viruses can cause severe complications in very young children, pregnant women, the chronically ill, and the elderly.
Just Stay Home
Being a mom of young children can be isolating, and sometimes you REALLY need to get out of the house for your sanity. But going out among healthy people while you or one of your children are sick is extremely selfish. Don’t put others at risk!
While your sick child probably won’t be worse for the wear if you go out, you could make another family sick–a family with a pregnant auntie, a grandpa in poor health, or a preemie baby brother. It’s so important to stay home if you’re sick to prevent illness from harming the most vulnerable.
You may feel stir-crazy, but please don’t go out if you’re ill. Reschedule that play date. Skip the sports practice. The museum will still be there in a few days when no one is contagious. Your mom friends will actually like you better if you save them the trouble of a “$600 cold.” Just stay home if you’re sick.
Let’s all work together to help each other stay healthy and safe during this beautiful season.
Originally published November 2018.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.