Monday, May 9, 2011

Chicken Pox

Last Monday, Jen and The Bean came to pick me up from school. This is always a big treat, not only for me, but for the students in my class.

They love hearing about The Bean and seeing new photos of him on my computer. They draw him pictures at the art table, asking me what his favourite colour is and what he likes. So, when we brought him into the classroom many of them rushed over to see him, vying for his attention and trying to make him smile. They we holding his hands and stroking his hair. It's very sweet to see them interact so positively with him.

Art from one of the students in my class. We tape it up on the wall behind where Jen breastfeeds. The Bean loves looking at the bright colours.

On Tuesday, one of the little boys in my class was scratching at his back quite vigorously. It's allergy season and I've been getting a lot of complaints about itchy eyes and stuffy noses. An itchy back was a new one though.

I told him to come over and asked if I could take a look. Up between his shoulder blades were three little red bumps. My first thought was, "Oh no! Chicken pox!!" But most kids these days are vaccinated. I took him next door to my teaching partner, a mother of three young children. The principal also happened to be in her room. We showed them his back, and they both seemed to think it was just mosquito bites (which was what I was hoping). We sent him to the Nurse's Office where they put some anti-itch cream on it.

Later in the afternoon he told me that now his underarm was itchy. I took another look and there were about five more little red bumps down his side. This time I KNEW it was chicken pox. I sent him back to the Nurse's Office and asked them to call his mom. She came quickly, and took him to the doctor who confirmed things.

I had chicken pox when I was in kindergarten, so I'm not concerned about getting them myself. But all the public health literature and information from online I've read says that the most contagious period is the two days before the pox appear.

In other words, Monday. The day The Bean was at school and the kids were all over him.

We called our doctor who said just to play it by ear for now. There's a two to three week incubation period. We're watching for any signs of a fever or marks on The Bean's body. (Note from Jen: watching...obsessing, is there a difference?)

Fortunately breastfed babies are at lower risk. We're keeping our fingers crossed that he doesn't get it. He hasn't been sick yet (knock wood) and this would be a hell of a first illness.

Let us know your tips for dealing with chicken pox, fevers or other illnesses!

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