I can't believe it's August already. Back to school stuff is everywhere, which has me thinking about fall. Fall of course means that cold/flu/RSV season is coming again. Cohen is older and hopefully has a little more immunity, but it still makes me nervous. Amazingly, he has still never been sick (well, you know what I mean). There was one time when we thought maybe he was sick, but in the end we chalked it up to teething.
While it is wonderful that Cohen has been pretty healthy and we haven't had to deal with a sick baby, it also means we haven't had the experience of dealing with a sick baby and knowing how he will do. When we were seeing Dr. W, Cohen's pulmonologist, he would always tell us that he wanted Cohen to get sick. We thought he was crazy and I still don't want Cohen to get sick, but it sure would be somewhat reassuring if we knew that he had already been sick and done okay with it. While Cohen's lungs aren't currently causing him any problems, they still aren't "normal". When we took Cohen to the ER with his weird wheezing that one night, the doctors took one look at Cohen's chest x-ray and were ready to diagnose him with a lung infection because they looked bad. We had to explain that this was most likely his normal and that they should compare it with his baseline (if you have a preemie with chronic lung disease, get a baseline chest xray when baby is healthy so there is something to compare to if they get sick! Best idea our pulmonologist ever gave us).
Anyway, Cohen's is still considered to have chronic lung disease and will until he is 2 years old. At 2 he may have normal looking lungs, but it wouldn't be surprising if he didn't. Basically, Cohen still has the potential to get really sick even just from a basic cold or flu. I'm not sure what the "rules" will be for Cohen this winter. They may be similar to last year where he is on house arrest or he may be allowed to go out but we still have to be very cautious. I will be interested to talk to his pediatrician at his 15 month visit next month. We have been asking around to other preemie families as well. In the end, I think it's common sense and what we are comfortable with.
A few things that got us through cold/flu/RSV season last year:
- Lots of hand sanitizing and handwashing. Everybody that came in the door was asked to sanitize or wash
- Lysol wipes. I was a little crazy with them at first wiping everything down (doorknobs, light switches etc.) and the I went to once every couple days
- Avoiding crowded places: the grocery store, church, etc.
- Monitoring visitors. We made sure that anyone who was planning on stopping by or that we were planning on seeing knew that they had to be healthy and if they were sick or thought they were getting sick then we would reschedule.
- Walks. As I mentioned before, we did a lot of walking throughout the winter. It helped us get out of the house without having to worry about exposing Cohen to germs
- We mostly kept our visitors to adults, except for the occasional older child or younger kids that looked but didn't touch
I know that every parent has to make their own decisions about what they think is best for their child and those will probably look different in each family. We will have to decide what will work best for our family this winter. We will probably do most of these things again this winter although hopefully with a little less paranoia. We still plan on taking precautions, but we are hoping that we won't have to be on as strict of lockdown. Please don't be offended if we start asking questions before you come over or insist that you wash when you come in the door. While Cohen looks like a healthy boy, and is for the most part, we still need to protect him and keep him safe this fall and winter. Thanks for understanding!