[Sharing] Infectious Diseases and YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

Last year, Baby Oppa (he decided to change his name as he claims that he is no longer a Monster but his Meimei’s Baby Oppa) caught Chicken Pox! There was an outbreak at his previous childcare centre, we kept him home the moment we found out about it as at that time, Meimei was barely a few months old and chicken pox can have devastating consequences for infants! Chicken pox is common, but it doesn’t mean we should be spreading it around!

It all started during breakfast, I noticed Baby Oppa was a little warmish during breakfast. I took his temperature with 3 different thermometers but he was not having a fever, he just felt warm to touch. As I was taking his temperature at his armpit (using the old school type for accuracy), I noticed a very small blister on his upper arm. It could have been overlooked as a small pimple or just an infected hair pore. But because his school had a chicken pox outbreak, alarm bells rang in my head.

Straightaway, I picked him up, placed him outside the house and instructed my maid:
Keep Meimei in my room (the only place Baby Oppa didn’t go to since he woke up). Use Dettol to wipe EVERYTHING he has touched. Wash his bedsheets & blankets in HOT WATER. Open up all the windows for ventilation & natural sunlight to come in. Sun his mattress & pillows. Switch on all air purifiers to HIGH.

I wrapped him up in a towel to minimize contact and sent him straight to the clinic at my mum’s place. After that, I sent him straight to my mum’s place to be separated away from Meimei. We couldn’t afford to let her catch it! I read online that babies can get some immunity from mummy if they are breastfeeding, so I was glad I was breastfeeding Meimei.

Many asked us why we didn’t vaccinate him. Actually, we intended to. But he was allergic to egg whites and his MMR(V) was delayed. Subsequently, we cleanly forgot about it!
And of course, my maid wasn’t vaccinated and didn’t have chicken pox before, so she was sent to the clinic near my place to be jabbed immediately too!

The doctor confirmed it was chicken pox. At that time, there were less than 5 small pimple-like spots. But his temperature was slowly rising. My parents quickly came back from work to attend to the sick Baby Oppa. My mum took leave and worked from home.

Within a few days, the peak of the chicken pox came despite oral medication from the doctor (supposedly to make the episode less serious). The medication was freaking expensive at $150 per bottle! And he needed 2 bottles of it? I almost fainted at the price!

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As commonly known, chicken pox will require a quarantine period of around 2 weeks. To be on the safe side, we kept him at my mum’s place for 3 weeks. No outdoors at all. Poor boy was bored stiff and tortured his Ah Ma till the end with his nonsense!

 

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Ah Ma spammed calamine lotion on him! Spent his days sleeping or playing the iPad as he was feeling lethargic and kept at home.

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Crying because he was in extreme discomfort. But as he got better, his mood improved too.

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The only thing he could eat without complaining – Bread!

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Plain food for Baby Oppa

Chicken Pox causes lethargy and due to blisters forming in the throat and mouth too, he had poor appetite.
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Check out the cold jelly my mum made for him! Preventing dehydration is most important!

Some have laughed at our ‘kiasu-ness’: Sterilising everything at home, keeping Baby Oppa away for so long, etc.
But hey! It’s bad enough that one of my kiddo has it, why would I want to spread it to my other kids?

 

How does chickenpox spread?
According to USA’s Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): “Chickenpox spreads easily through the air when a person who has chickenpox coughs or sneezes. It can also spread by touching an infected person’s blisters. Chickenpox can be spread 1 to 2 days before the infected person gets a rash until all the blisters have formed scabs.

 

You can also read more about Chicken Pox HERE.

 

What does this mean? It means PEOPLE WITH CHICKEN POX SHOULD STAY HOME! Yes! Until they’ve recovered and been seen by a doctor to confirm that all the blisters have formed scabs and they are no longer infectious.
(This logic applies to HFMD also!)

 

This is commonly referred to as SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep our nation disease-free. It starts with ALL OF US. Keep yourself or your child at home if they are sick. Especially if they are running a fever as fever is usually the start of many infectious diseases!
Sadly many selfish people don’t understand this logic and prefer to spread diseases like chicken pox and HFMD around.

 

Only head out to the clinic and call the clinic in advance to get advise on their procedures. I called the clinic on our way over and they specially set aside an isolated area for Baby Oppa. Upon arrival, we got to see the doctor first too. The faster we were out of the clinic, the better it is for all the other sick patients who may catch chicken pox from him. I myself can’t live with the guilt if we spread it to someone and cause discomfort and harm to them!

 

And please do not tell others to stay at home if they are afraid to catch something. There are children with health problems and catching a ‘common’ chicken pox can mean death. There are elderly who have lower immune system who may catch HFMD too!

 

If you have young children in which HFMD is common, always do the following checks before you bring your children out:
(1) Take their temperature
(2) Check their palms and feet for spots or blisters
(3) Check their mouth/throat for ulcers

 

If you or your child is not well, stay home and rest. Drink plenty of water and see a doctor for medication.

 

When out, always wash your hands often. Or sanitize often. Same for the kids and everyone in the family.
Wipe down all high chairs/tables your kids will come in contact with. I normally use hand sanitizer and wet wipes to wipe the high chair and tables.
Recently we were told by a friend that they spotted a family with HFMD (they announced their HFMD status on Facebook) dining out at a popular shopping mall and we really freaked out. My husband now uses alcohol swabs to wipe everything when we head out! 

 

When all of us do our part, we can help make our public areas safer for all. And most importantly, can you live with the guilt of causing discomfort and inconvenience to other children and their families? I know I can’t so we chose to do strict quarantine. Even my mum refused to go to office as there are staff with young children in her office, just in case she brought the virus along with her. She arranged to work from home for 3 weeks. She was bored stiff. She called me daily with complaints about how naughty Baby Oppa was. She would send me pictures via WhatsApp throughout the day too. Thank you mummy for helping us every time we need help! 🙂

 

Be a Responsible Adult. Do the Right Thing.

 

Mummy Audrey
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Mummy Audrey is a mother of 3 and runs TLO.com.sg

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