It’s a perfect LA Saturday afternoon. You attended your hot yoga class (Namaste), spent some time with your fur baby at the dog park (and have the perfect insta to prove it), and are settling in to binge watch Netflix’s newest docuseries that’s sure to send you down a Wikipedia rabbit hole for the rest of the night. But your phone rings as you begin to scan your fruitless fridge- you’ve been offered an invitation to come babysit your favorite family’s four year old. Your prayer for some extra spending cash for the next week has been answered! But alas, the mother informs you the child hasn’t been feeling too well and missed school yesterday.
Before you freak out, think again! With vaccinations and by simply being proactive about your health and environment, you’ve little to fear in these less than ideal babysitting situations! According to Healthy Living, research published in last year’s New England Journal of Medicine showed that a person in the same household as a sick child (spending ALL day around/with/touching said child) is only likely to catch the illness 21 percent of the time. Illness spreading to more than one other person in the house was even less common, occurring only 6 percent of the time (https://www.instagram.com/p/Bppg-ZrFNac/?taken-by=dayswithgreyand this again is referring to someone living at the house alongside the child!). That puts your risk of getting ill at a lofty 0.25%!
Here are Five of Our Favorite Tips on Staying Healthy around Sick Children!
1. Disinfect: During flu/cold seasons, we recommend carrying around disinfectants in your “Babysitting Bag”! Items like Lysol wipes, extra tissues, and (an alcohol based) hand sanitizer are always good to have on hand! There’s also no harm in taking note from the wise way of pediatricians everywhere and investing in latex gloves if you’d feel more comfortable!
2. Wash Your Hands Properly: Speaking of pediatricians, let’s revisit the basics of hand washing shall we? Warm water. 2 pumps. 20 seconds. (Sing “Happy Birthday” twice to yourself). This is the tried, true, and timeless magic formula for protecting your health!
3. Vaccinate: The single best way to prevent getting the worst of the worst flu is to get vaccinated! This is an effective way to protect yourself against the most common strands of the influenza virus. Next time you’re in CVS or Walgreens picking up some lippy, swing by the pharmacy and invest in a two second bee sting to prevent a two week flu fest.
4. Invest in Your Health: We hate to sound like your mother, but being nannies ourselves we’re always watching out for our caregivers as well as our clients! Eat healthy, exercise as often as your body and schedule allow, invest in a good vitamin c supplement and probiotic, eat your greens (or seeing that this is LA, drink your greens!), get an appropriate amount of sleep, and drink enough water!
5. Practice Common Sense: Germs are everywhere y’all. If you’ve ever been on an airplane or gone to Disneyland or ridden an escalator you’ve come in direct contact with far more dangerous germs than you’ll encounter in a sick child’s home. Follow the rules you try to teach! Don’t share food or drink. Don’t stick your hands in your mouth after touching him/her. Don’t use his/her toothbrush (we say it because it’s been done!). If a child is home sick, he/she should be resting as much as possible, encourage a “quarantined” space for the child- the couch or the bed is best! And keeps you in the safe zone.
With these tips in mind, we hope that the next time you get the call to cancel your night in and rescue a family in need of childcare, you’ll feel more confident saying yes! So long sniffles!