to not have realised that so much of childhood would be taken up by illness?

(108 Posts)
toomuchillness Tue 18-Mar-14 10:35:21

Before I had DC, I knew that obviously DC would be ill at times but I genuinely didn't realise how much of their time they would spend in illness. I have one at school and one at nursery. Their noses seem to run for 6-7 months at a time virtually constantly from September to when the weather starts to get warmer. Colds, chest infections, conjunctivitis, diarrhoea, vomiting, molluscum contagiousm, chicken pox, coughs which last for a month a time - it just doesn't seem to end sad

Everyone says it will get better when they get older. The annoying thing is I end up catching quite a few of the illnesses too

PurpleSproutingBroccoli Tue 18-Mar-14 12:45:36

The trouble with "only a cough/runny nose", IME, is that many nurseries don't see it that way. Any rise in temperature when my dd was that age, and they would call me to take her home. Childminder places were like gold dust. During the winter there were months at a time where I could only work part of every week, and that was with a dh who was having to take time off as well. Dd was prone to ear infections - at 15 she's just had a graft to repair one eardrum, which was permanently perforated after bursting so often. We were on this awful cycle of cold... sent home with temperature... ear infection... 3/4 days off... back to nursery/work... day or two of health... the next cold. In the end I had to give up work, which meant moving to a cheaper area with fewer job prospects. My career never recovered. It really is a huge deal for some people.

cory Tue 18-Mar-14 13:08:46

Some children just have late developing immune systems. I remember my mother telling me of one winter when my db was only well enough to play outside for 3 days- and they lived in a healthy area and had a healthy diet.

I otoh was very rarely ill.

Dd seemed to pick up every bug going and get twice as ill for twice as long: I reckon she was weakened by her underlying chronic pain condition. She was the one who became delirious when she had chickenpox.

cory Tue 18-Mar-14 13:11:42

If you do have one of those children whose runny noses invariably turn into croup or ear infections with high fevers it can be very trying to listen to other parents going "oh, mine are never off sick because I don't believe in molly-coddling, I just send them in anyway".

Thetallesttower Tue 18-Mar-14 13:15:11

I was ill a lot as a child, ate organic (or wholefood back then) food, plenty of exercise but I was still ill, just picked up viruses very easily and then they lasted longer with me, I still remember the tonsillitis and glands up and so on. It's not just what you feed them- some children are more vulnerable than others.

I became much healthier as an adult til funnily enough I had my children, then had a couple of years of lots of colds/flu (probably due to lack of sleep/exhaustion) and it's gone back to normal now.

Some people here are rather smug about this, you can feed them all the vits you like and eat healthily but some children are more vulnerable than others although obviously exposure helps (so if at nursery/school all day).

PurpleSproutingBroccoli Tue 18-Mar-14 13:17:09

Must admit that a few comments stung a bit, hence my post above! Dd1 was miserable and her hearing has been permanently affected, never mind my own career/finances. But she's rarely ill now she's in her teens, and her younger sister has never had a single ear infection.

PurpleSproutingBroccoli Tue 18-Mar-14 13:19:21

TBH, if dd2 had been my only child, I'd have had a pretty clear run of it in the early years. She only ever had minor snuffles now and then.

MorningTimesAreHorrid Tue 18-Mar-14 13:22:27

I might not make you feel better at this stage, but hopefully they will have strong immune systems as they grow older.

Our GP always used to tell me that about my DS1 (now 9). He was ill so often, before the age of 4, that he had to see a paediatrician once a month for blood tests to find out if there was a problem with his immune system. They didn't find anything wrong and he grew out of it (he used to be in hospital with chest/eye/ear infections a lot). He had a very healthy diet, it was just that he picked up everything going at nursery.

Now, DS has an in unbelievable immune system. I can't remember when he even had a cough or cold last. At least a couple of years ago. We can all have the norovirus or flu at home & DS just sails through it unaffected. I used to feel very skeptical when the Dr talked about how strong his immune system would become but it has turned out to be true after all.

I remember my DS having a bad cold when he was about 2. Years and years of illness? No.
Is there something else going on?

alarkthatcouldpray Tue 18-Mar-14 13:23:04

Yes these threads always give rise to a lot of smuggery.

IME the ones who simply wouldn't see childhood illnesses as a reason not to work are also the ones who would carp the loudest if they had to actually cover for you if you ended up taking leave to look after sick DCs.

Health is one of life's biggest lotteries.

Thetallesttower Tue 18-Mar-14 13:26:12

That's not to say that I wouldn't do anything if mine were ill all the time. The two things I would do is - use echinacea, this works for me and there's a modest amount of evidence it can lessen colds and- wash your hands before every meal and after every visit to the toilet and monitor this. I am evangelical about this and wash my own about 6 times a day (not that many actually if you count going to the loo)- I work at a uni full of sneezing sick students and I have found that rigorous hand-washing really helps, and you can check the children do it before meals.

Ultimately, though, some people are just more vulnerable- I never get D and V if it comes to our family, but in some families, everyone gets it. I can even feel when I get it but I don't get the vomiting bit, it's just not where I'm weak and I also rarely if ever get food poisoning whereas my husband is much more likely to get both.

PurpleSproutingBroccoli Tue 18-Mar-14 13:26:14

Not sure, Calculators -in our family it seems to just have been the way it was. Two dds, same good balanced diet, no allergies, no food fussiness, no known underlying health issues. Massively different experience of childhood illnesses. But they're both now rarely ill at 15 and 12.

IamaBreastfeedingTramp Tue 18-Mar-14 13:27:23

Give up now OP.

You are about to get a barrage of stealth boasts from people telling you

How strong and healthy they keep their family (as if its not just luck).
How well they juggle work and children.
You are basically too soft and should stop mollycoddling your children as they're not really ill.

They are young, at nursery and probably going through a bad phase. It will pass. Everyone is different, some children have constant infections, others have never been to the Drs. Why is this so surprising to people here?

PurpleSproutingBroccoli Tue 18-Mar-14 13:28:28

In fact, when dd2 was small it was harder to keep things hygienic, etc., as instead of only adults there was an infectious snotty-nosed dd1 toddling about confused.

alarkthatcouldpray Tue 18-Mar-14 13:29:57

And I'm generally amazed at how proud people are that they send in their DCs to school & nursery with low grade temperatures and other symptoms they deem minor. Thereby making them 'man zero' and generously sharing the bugs with those who end up more severely affected. If their children are so robust and have the constitution of an ox they will only have a temperature for a day. Why not keep them off and spare others that particular infection?

When my DD gets a temp she nearly always vomits so I really don't get much choice what to do with her.

VoyageDeVerity Tue 18-Mar-14 13:30:05

I completely agree OP. So much of DDs baby and toddlerhood was spent as a mum / nurse more than anything... Much better now she's 7.

BertieBotts Tue 18-Mar-14 13:34:39

Er, mine isn't a stealth boast. Just surprised is all. Why would it make me a "better" parent that DS happened not to pick up viruses very often? confused

cory Tue 18-Mar-14 13:36:12

same experience as TallestTower: I hardly ever get anything stomach related

my db otoh used to throw up every time he got a cold

so I would be in school blowing my nose and he'd be at home with a bucket

theynevershutup Tue 18-Mar-14 13:39:07

My 2 are rarely ill either although they are 6 and 9 now, but I also make them wash their hands when they get in from school before they eat and when out and about if possible. Also have garlic and onions in lots of meals, but think it's probably luck though more than anything.

Dwerf Tue 18-Mar-14 13:39:56

Different kids seems to have different immune systems, even from the same family. Ds, as a baby and toddler got everything going. Every cold would turn into a chest infection, yet by five years old he was a sturdy child. Last time he went to the doctors they didn't know who he was. I think he's been twice in the last decade. DD1 was prone to ear infections, as was dd2. They have inherited tiny eustatian tubes, I was (and still am) plagued by ear infections. Dd1 also vomits with every illness and injury. Ear infection? Vomit. Stubbed toe? Vomit. Panic attack? Vomit. She missed a lot of school simply because of their 48 hour rule, despite me telling them she's just a vomitous person.

After a longish spell of good health, both dd2 and dd3 came down with several viruses, one after the other. Achiness, upset stomach and lethagy. I'm expecting attendance letters for both of them.

toomuchillness Tue 18-Mar-14 13:41:11

Give up now OP

That is how I feel. I have already said they get exercise, eat healthily, hardly have any sugary sweets. They do wash their hands, they do have vitamins, I can't do much else

Seems like there are loads of people who have only had to miss 1 days work in 18 years because of childhood illness

IdaClair Tue 18-Mar-14 13:48:00

That is not my experience.

Doesn't make me a better parent, or mean I eat better food, or take more bracing walks than you do. Not a stealth boast. Just that it is not my experience to regularly deal with ill children, or Ill anyone for that matter.

Having said that I always thought we would end up doing the take the kids to a&e thing for falling off a step, spraining an ankle, swallowing a penny, that kind of thing as I'd heard that was normal, but we haven't needed to do that either, yet, touch wood (kids combined age is only 9). In case that is apparently smuggery, I was constantly in plaster as a child, so that bit was definitely in my parents' experience.

HiImBarryScott Tue 18-Mar-14 13:48:47

From the age of 0-4, apart from the usual coughs, colds & vomiting bugs my DS1 had:

chicken pox
impetigo
hand foot & mouth
molluscum
conjunctivitis
scarlet fever
worms

He has a really good & varied diet and gets plenty of fresh air and exercise. He was at nursery and most of the kids there had the same bugs too.

He is 9 now and hasn't had a day off school in a couple of years which is great. But instead I have to take time off work with DS3 who is 2 and going through all the same shenanigans. Tis a nightmare.

JsOtherHalf Tue 18-Mar-14 13:52:16

I don't think of DS as being a particularly poorly child, but he has only managed 1 term of full attendance since starting full time school. Ironicaly that was the first term. Since then he has had a number of d&v, so 48 hours off; several chest infections, a couple of viral infections...

School rang me recently at 2pm to pick him up as he was hot with a sore throat...

Dwerf Tue 18-Mar-14 13:53:07

Idaclair, I find that time spent at A&E is wholly down to luck. Some kids bounce and some do not. Ds? One visit in 18 years. Dd3 managed to be sent up there twice in three days for unrelated injuries. I'd been a parent for 14 years before I needed one of them stitching up (and that was the youngest at 4 years old). Not one of them has broken anything yet, now watch one of them be in plaster by the end of the month

JsOtherHalf Tue 18-Mar-14 13:54:51

Eeek @ my spelling.

I forgot to say that DH and I share time off in these circumstances, so it doesn't all fall to me. Occasionally we swap at lunchtime, depending on our diaries.

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