I worry about the flu
This morning after preparing my son for school I looked at him. I mean really looked at him. Of course I see him everyday but something today just clicked for me. He is really growing up. He was wearing jeans, a jean jacket and some really funky sneakers. His hair is cut low to his head and in that moment I was able to see the little boy that he has become and the person that he will be in the future. I know I've been reminiscing lately about how quickly he is growing up but he truly isn't a baby anymore. Everyday he becomes more articulate and having conversations with him has become a highlight of my day.
But his growing up is bittersweet in many ways. I think about how I can and cannot protect him from the things in the world. For now we lead a pretty insulated life, he spends the majority of his time at home with me or at preschool but I can't help but worry. This morning I received an email discussing the prevalence of H1N1 (swine flu) in the southeast, specifically in Atlanta among children under five. Apparently we are being hardest hit and ERs are seeing 3 times the number of sick children than usual at this time of year. The fact that the SE is being hit hard is being attributed to the fact that we return to school early but whatever the reason, I still am worried.
The vaccine is not available here yet and honestly, I am not even sure that I am going to get it for my son when it is available. I simply am vigilant and watch my son to ensure that he isn't sick and in the event that he does get sick I will monitor him closely. The Children's Hospital of Atlanta has an online tool that can help parents assess the necessity of taking their child to the hospital; hopefully I won't have to use it but I am happy to know that this resource is available. It is my understanding that they are trying to keep people from going to the ER unnecessarily because if a child is not really sick enough to be at the hospital, there is potential for being exposed to disease while there.
Given this information and with the knowledge that 98% of the current flu cases are H1N1 I do worry. But I am not hysterical. I will continue to let my big boy go to school (he enjoys it so much). In the event that he does get ill I will keep him home, flu or not just to ensure that the other children do not get the bug too. I can only hope that the rest of the parents in the school keep their children home in the event of sickness too.