Thursday, November 01, 2007

Epidemiology

Just as communicable diseases begin, so did our conversation today.

First, we were informed that the FluMist vaccine contains a live virus that sheds for up to 4 weeks. Although our children do not receive it, after speaking with other parents it has become obvious to us that it is commonplace for children to be brought right back to school and public places. I sent out an email to family, asking them to inform us if they've been exposed (or if their children have) and it evolved.

Kids get sick. It's seldom malicious. I'm sure our kids have gotten others sick over the years, too. Sometimes they aren't showing symptoms until after the gathering and, by then, the damage is done.

On the news today, they reported that we are expecting a pandemic flu this season. It's always extremist in the media, but it still raises concern. It is one thing if our kids got sick in the past. It is reasonable. You manage symptoms, treat the illness, rest, etc. An ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure, we spent some time really evaluating our risks this year.

Children with scoliosis have an increased risk of developing pneumonia. What may seem like an innocent cold or cough, or even be chalked up to allergies, may end up being very serious for Jackson. Even if it doesn't develop into a serious illness, if he so much as has a cold, he cannot go under general anesthesia. The risk of a respiratory reaction is much higher and the hospital won't administer anesthesia to a sick child. (Nor would we ever want them to.)

If he cannot be properly anesthetized, we get bumped. The operating room at Shriner's is a busy place. They usually book it up at least 6 months in advance. Add to that the fact that the casting table has to be brought in and occupies a lot of space, there are very few days that they even cast. If we got bumped out due to illness, we would lose more ground on the curve progression, we wouldn't get him re-casted in the right time frame, and who knows what that would mean for Jack and the time frame of when he would be facing surgery.

So, we've come to the conclusion that we just need to hunker down for the winter months and continue to quarantine ourselves. We're going to stay away from groups, as well as stores, and do whatever we can to stay healthy. It will absolutely pain me to miss time with our families this holiday season, but not nearly as much as if Jack got sick, and he is always the bottom line and our first priority.

1 comment:

Kimberlee said...

They predict every year to be a pandemic flu year. I hope this year is like most of the others...media hype.

We will hunker down starting a couple of weeks before baby is due. Zoe got RSV as a newborn. It was horrible! She was very sick. We spent the rest of the winter and spring tucked up in our little house as we did not want her to get sick again.

It made for a long winter...LOL...but it was worth it to have her mostly healthy now (though if a child 'goes bad' with something, it will be her.)

I hope you have a healthy winter. You could certainly use one.

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