As you know by now, we've been sick since preschool started. We're on day 13 of "oh, so I guess we're all still sick." We're at the point where we're sure every night before we go to bed, that this is it. This was the last day of lingering sickness.
Then the cough starts up. The cough that keeps everyone awake at different intervals throughout the night. We do steamed bathrooms, honey, vapor rub, water, head elevation. We read stories and chat quietly. We hug and love. We do not sleep.
The morning breaks, and here we all are, still sick, but surely today will be the last day of it, am I right?
Last week, I checked Dulce's throat and saw that her tonsils were swollen. Red alert. Emergency doctor visit time.
Of course, I was sure these were the biggest any tonsils had ever been ever in the history of mankind. The doctor laughed at that. "Slightly swollen," she said. "A virus that we can't do anything about," she said.
At least it's not strep, right?
But then she said something that showed me just how much I actually did buy into the Hygiene Hypothesis, and just how wrong I was.
"Is it normal for viruses to last this long?" I asked.
"Anywhere from one to three weeks," she said, offhandedly. "But since you've got twins, they're probably passing it back and forth between them, and who knows how long it will be around."
You mean to tell me that my kids are not building immunities to this specific virus as we speak? You mean they're still susceptible to the exact same germs they've been fighting and winning against for a week?
And if the babies can ping pong the same virus back and forth to each other while they are sick already, there goes the "they're already past the contagious stage," right? I mean, how are we to know when they are contagious or not? Clearly, they can infect each other or anyone else at any time. That annoying, persistent cough must still be transmitting the germs I thought were not transferable after a certain number of days.
So, really, the Hygiene Hypothesis seems to be a bunch of hype parents tell themselves to make themselves feel better. No one is getting immune, and diseases aren't becoming non-contagious after a few days. With the understandably slack rules about ill children in preschool, no wonder we're all sick all the time.
So, Jo, my hat's off to you. You win this bout. Now, how about you come over for some tea and lunch? I hear the babies are past the contagious stage. It should be just fine, right? What's a little runny nose?
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