Mums put themselves last as usual and get rewarded with a dose of flu

Posted by on 29 March, 2011

The seasons are starting earlier, don’t you think? It’s only March and it feels like July. The number of sick little ones doing the day care shuffle between ear infections, diarrhoea and the fabulous winter snot fest is frankly incredible. Their poor mums are already worn out from the endless nights of bleary eyed attempts at measuring out Panadol at 2am and then cleaning a steady [procession of runny nappies…

I almost don’t have the heart to tell them that we’re about to hit flu season and they’re already in the firing line. WE do know that children, especially little children from day care to the early primary years are the most likely to catch the flu. In kids flu is slightly different to adults. Along with the usual stock standard fevers, coughs and being miserable and off their food, they get diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting as well so the flu is just a great look all round. Not sure whether you knew this but along with the very sick and elderly, it’s the under twos that are most likely to be slammed hard by the flu and land up in hospital.

But kids are amazing. On the whole they bounce back and are running around like little madmen hours after mum was in tears with worry at the listless, pale mess in her arms.

She on the other hand is less resilient when she gets the flu. Not only does having flu make her feel like ten kinds of rubbish, it also stuffs up her entire family as a recent survey by Priceline pharmacies confirmed. The survey of busy mums (I know that is a tautology) and dads found that their number one concern was not being able to care for their children! Coming in far behind was their worry about falling behind with housework or losing income from having to take a day off work. Only 17% of the mums surveyed thought their family would manage fine if they caught the flu.

I’m seeing bundles of irony there. Firstly she is sitting in the firing line of the flu because she’s nursing her children through it. Also, hello; she can’t take care of her kids? Who exactly is taking care of her? Who’s making her a tea with lemon and honey and running to the shop for cold and flu tablets, huh? That didn’t even register as a concern for mums surveyed here.

That’s probably why mums don’t get flu shots (in the survey 43% had had one in the last three years). Oddly it was the blokes who were getting their shots (56%), probably because they get them free through work.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and flu is no different. A lot of mums think that it’s good hand hygiene that will save their skins this winter. I like the thinking and in no way am I bashing a good hand wash but when it comes to flu, it’s a vaccination that is by far the best way to prevent the flu and the ensuing chaos for the family. To me it’s a no brainer- yes I had one this year already!

Mother to mothers out there, I can relate to the expression ‘I can’t afford to get sick’. So if there’s a way to dodge the flu bullet, why wouldn’t you do it?