Kamu tends to say "Ewww!" anytime he hears anything new, but when he said that the other day, it was very appropriate. Patrick was talking about how you get sick from germs and Kamu said "Germs? Eeewwwww!" I could not help but agree.
With both boys in daycare or school and me being a college professor, we're constantly around the germiest of germs found outside of a hospital. At Kamu's daycare, some of the kids still suck thumbs and then play with toys without washing their hands. Or they sneeze on another child and keep playing. It's a wonderful daycare and they keep it very clean, but there's just no way to have a class of 12 2-year olds that stays germ-free.
I'm sure similar things happen at Patrick's school, even if they're just sharing food in the cafeteria or the like. The school supplies list had a bottle of hand sanitizer and I know they use it. I went to his class the day before Halloween to help with their "Halloween centers" and they keep them on the tables. The kids were pretty good about using them, but it's still a classroom with 19 5- and 6-year olds. In terms of germiness, they're not much better than the class of 2-year olds.
In my case, the sickest students are the ones who, instead of staying home, come up at the beginning of class, lean in close, and whisper in my face "I'm really sick, I might have swine flu. I just wanted to let you know in case I get up and leave in the middle of class." Fortunately we have the authority to ask sick students to leave class now (we've been getting all manner of e-mails regarding the institution's H1N1 policies) and while that helps, it's still too little, too late for me. I know for a fact that I have been exposed to H1N1 and consider it pretty lucky that I haven't come down with it yet.
H1N1 is most likely in my family's future. We will not be getting vaccinated against it. I don't feel comfortable with the lack of safety studies of the live virus vaccine in children, so I wouldn't get it for them. I also don't normally get a flu shot myself--in the last 15 years, I've had the flu 3 times. Two of those were the only two years that I also got a flu shot. That puts me at 100% for getting the flu in years when I do get a flu shot and only 8% in years when I don't. Jason prefers not to get any shots at all if he can help it, so he certainly won't be getting it. Beyond that, Jason and I are not in a high-risk category and I wouldn't feel comfortable getting a vaccine recommended first for those high-risk groups when there is a shortage of it.
Kamu will be getting a seasonal flu shot (if his pediatrician's office ever gets more). He is in a high-risk category based on his reactive airway disorder. We got him one last year and will get him one again this year. Patrick will not be getting one. He's never had one. Two years ago, his entire preschool class got the flu. The kids who'd gotten the flu shot were the ones who were sick for a week or longer. Patrick came home from school sick on Friday, had no fever by Sunday, and was back to school on Monday. I figure that he just paid his dues when he vomited every time he nursed for 8 weeks straight as a baby before we figured out his casein allergy!
This semester has been a pretty healthy one for our family so far. The kids haven't been sick at all. Jason and I came down with a cold in the last week, but aside from the fact that I've lost my voice, I feel pretty good. Last year at this point in the semester, I'd been coughing for 6 weeks before being diagnosed with walking pneumonia (10 days of Cipro), a severe sinus infection (10 days of Cipro), and was about to develop a corneal abrasion (that would put me on both antibiotic and steroid eye drops for over a month). A cold seems like nothing compared to that. Perhaps I paid my dues last year!
Another question: are you being vaccinated (or hoping to be vaccinated) against H1N1? Why or why not?