Do you help in the classroom even though you pick up germs?

I woke up Friday morning feeling awful and discovered Saturday I had a terrible case of strep throat. I’ve been on antibiotic for four days and still feel fairly awful.

This is my second illness in three weeks, and I always seem to come down with it about two days after I help in Lilina’s first-grade classroom. (None of my kids are sick so it came from some place else!)

I picked up a terrible cold the first week of school helping in the kindergarten class. I ran into an aide in the class later in the week, and she was sick too.

I love, love, love helping in Lilina’s classroom. The kids are wonderful. I am good at teaching phonics and working on reading skills with them. But I just can’t get sick every week!

I used to get sick when I would babysit too. At one point my mother said she would pay me not to babysit.

I am taking all kinds of probiotics and vitamins to boost my immunity but I just catch things easily.

Have you ever gotten sick after helping at your child’s school? Is it worth the risk? Should I beg off until spring? (Funny thing is it’s still in the 70s and 80s here – hardly winter!)

25 comments Add your comment

Techmom

November 19th, 2013
9:21 pm

Honestly I would think you would have built up a pretty strong immune system by the time the 3rd one hit school age. Maybe there are different strains of the bugs out west than what you encountered in the south (which means you better avoid the new school system next year). Sounds like you guys try to eat right but I’m thinking there’s something off balance. Do you get enough sleep (does any parent?) Do you exercise? I’d hate to suggest cutting out helping at the school but if it means you can’t function for your family, maybe you ought to take a step back.

Hope you feel better- it’s tough being a sick mom!

A

November 20th, 2013
7:28 am

Either don’t go in so often or take some Airborne before going and make liberal use of any hand sanitizer in the classroom.

motherjanegoose

November 20th, 2013
7:32 am

So sorry you are sick. NOT fun. Obviously this is something that happens frequently and you may need to reconsider if it is worth it.. You are getting closer to the time when you may not need to volunteer. I did not have volunteers when I taught 2nd grade.

I think antibiotics usually knock out strep throat in 24 hours. Is your prescription strong enough?

@ Techmom…yes there are different strains of bugs everywhere. I was in Kinder in Denver last week and heading to Florida today. I work in at least 50 different schools each year. I am usually VERY sick in October but managed to skip it this year. Not sure why except that I did get my flu shot early. Perhaps that helped? Maybe my immunity is better. Lots of people I know are fighting the bronchial thing and have lost their voice too. No fun at all! I hope I do not get it.

Mother of 2

November 20th, 2013
7:35 am

Hand washing is your best defense. Unfortunately, those airborne bugs are going to get you.

What’s the classroom like? Are you sitting on upholstered furniture that can’t be cleaned? Try to stay away from comfy couches that are Petri dishes for various bacteria and viruses.

Google how to avoid getting sick in the elementary school classroom – I’ll bet there are things you can do to protect yourself better.

Good luck. I hope you don’t have to give up volunteering in the classroom. It’s such a wonderful service to the kids.

HB

November 20th, 2013
7:52 am

T, are you sure you gave strep (did you actually gave a culture)? Viral infections can cause a lot of the same symptoms and that could be why the antibiotics aren’t helping.

Alberta

November 20th, 2013
8:18 am

The best way to prevent the spread of germs is by regular hand washing.

Also, please don’t waste your time and money on Airborne. Their website states “This product is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” I’m not sure how they could be any clearer that the product has no health benefits whatsoever.

Mayhem

November 20th, 2013
8:20 am

You can pick up germs ANYWHERE.

A

November 20th, 2013
8:25 am

@Alberta, I know Airborne doesn’t claim to treat, cure or prevent anything, but it does contain a bunch of vitamins and herbs, so it probably wouldn’t hurt to pop one and hope it boosts your immune system enough to ward off the nasty stuff in classrooms. Thankfully, when your kid gets a bit older they don’t ask for parents in the classroom anymore!

Techmom

November 20th, 2013
8:49 am

I’m with A, airborne doesn’t cure anything but it is full of vitamins which I do think help your body. I usually start taking it at the first sign of sickness or if I know I’ve been exposed to someone who is sick. Eating right, lots of Vit C, getting enough sleep, exercising and getting fresh air and sun are good things as well.

beth

November 20th, 2013
8:50 am

I think the solution is not to voluntter less, but to volunteer more… it builds immunity! I volunteer weekly in each child’s classroom so I am at the school alot. I rarely get sick from my time spent at school but I am an avid hand washer too. My kids rarely get sick either. We have had the stomach bug but none of us have ever had strep or the flu.

just me

November 20th, 2013
9:38 am

Recently there was a small outbreak of scabies at my kid’s school. I’m not going anywhere near that place and my child has been going in dressed pretty much like an astronaut.

Young Lady

November 20th, 2013
9:42 am

Vitamins can’t boost your immunity unless you are deficient in one that affects the immune system. A lagging immune system /can/ indicate a deficiency and at that stage medical intervention is required to treat it. And you have to get a diagnosis (what is causing it specifically) and a proper dosage/dietary change instructions.

HB

November 20th, 2013
9:47 am

Theresa has 3 kids and has been volunteering in their classes for years — if her immunity hasn’t built up enough to ward off these bugs by now, I doubt volunteering more will help. Personally, I think she should drop it. She’s very active in her kids’ education, has the holidays coming up, will be traveling to NYC in December, and has all the stress of planning their upcoming move. She’s probably stressed and tired anyway, and that will lower immunity too. Theresa, be a little more gentle with yourself, and go ahead and drop the thing that’s making you sick. Try to boost your nutrition too — from what I understand, evidence suggests that vitamin supplements do not help at all. May not hurt, but they’re a waste of money and effort. Try to add a few extra daily servings of good veggies (colorful ones!) and fruit instead.

Young Lady

November 20th, 2013
9:54 am

HB- People with legitimate deficiencies do need vitamin suppliments. Sometimes just for the interrim while they alter their diet, or for the rest of their lives like me. I have a diagnosed vitamin B12 and D deficiency. It’s genetic so the issue is I can’t process B12 from my food even if I eat a diet heavy in it. I have the same issue with vitamin D and I don’t process it well from sunlight. I can process it from suppliments thankfully or I’d be in a lot worse health.

HB

November 20th, 2013
11:17 am

Sorry, Young Lady. I meant the general sort of vitamins that people take like multivitamins and Airborne, not doctor-recommended supplements for diagnosed issues.

catlady

November 20th, 2013
11:43 am

Just think about the teachers! We are BATHED each day in the germs of kids whose parents send them to school vomiting, with fevers, coughing, sneezing, with sore throats, and every other kind of transmittable illness! I have explained to my doctor that I cannot go on Humira until I retire. I tried it and was sick for 7 weeks straight, one thing after another! I am sick of it!

iRun

November 20th, 2013
11:46 am

So, if it’s actually strep you could’ve gotten it from your kid. She could be a carrier, which means she won’t get sick but will spread it.

However, as another mentioned, are you sure it’s strep? If you’ve been on anti-biotics since Saturday then you should be feeling a lot better by now. Did you get a culture to determine strep?

I would guess you have the flu or similar virus. I got the flu last week and it involved several days of my throat feeling like it had blades in it. Amongst the symptoms of fever, aches, chills, and finally lots of sneezing and coughing. I knew it wasn’t strep because I was already on strong anti-biotics from getting my wisdom teeth extracted. I knew it had to be viral.

Kat

November 20th, 2013
1:26 pm

I have had a sore throat many times and just assumed it was strep so I went in for antibiotics. Doctor usually says “The test was negative, but just in case here are some antibiotics.” Ugh! If I don’t have it, I don’t want the antibiotics. Plus, I always feel better the day after the doctor regardless of what I take. Go figure. I have a family member that always seems to catch something after plane trips. People are so gross out there. motherjanegoose must have an excellent anti-illness approach since she’s always off to someplace!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 20th, 2013
1:30 pm

It was diagnosed with a strep test –I am on the fifth day now of antibiotics and my throat finally doesn’t hurt. so i guess finally working.

I think DB is right that my immunity is not great to begin with but is down with all going on. I love, love, love being with the class. They are so much fun and I feel like I really help the teacher but I can’t be knocked out for a week from what I pick up. I cancelled for this week and it’s cancelled for next week due to Turkey Trot. Although I am scheduled to work in the book fair. So we’ll see how it goes. I will try to do more to boost my immunity.

iRun

November 20th, 2013
2:47 pm

Theresa, the sensitivity and specificity of the rapid strep test is 64.6% and 96.79%, respectively.

That low sensitivity means the test isn’t good at diagnosing an actual positive case.
The high specificity means the test is very good at ruling OUT an actual positive case.

Sensitivity – ruling IN
Specificity – ruling OUT

So, if you tested positive then it’s highly likely it’s a correct diagnosis.

Just FYI.

jan

November 20th, 2013
5:57 pm

Frequent hand washing is a good start. But we also have to think about those nasty little unconscious habits we all have. Like chewing on our ink pens. Or using our mouth as a “third hand” to hold our keys or checkbook while we dig in our purse or pockets. It is just as easy to pick germs or viruses up that way.

catlady

November 20th, 2013
8:01 pm

catlady

November 20th, 2013
8:02 pm

Not to mention lice– a big hit at my school right now, and scabies. We also have kids under treatment for TB, but we are supposedly safe.

Once Again

November 20th, 2013
10:07 pm

You could try homeschooling.

A

November 21st, 2013
7:33 am

@Once Again, not everyone wants to or has an inclination to homeschool so please get off your high horse and stop preaching.