“Welcome back.. welcome back, welcome back, welcome baaaaack.”
Not quite. I’m talking about welcoming back the season of colds and flu.
We all know that the return to school comes with the return of runny noses, barfing bellies and fear-inducing fevers. Here we are, about three weeks in and I can officially say it’s back-to-school season since I have a sick child at home. Oh my gosh- it seems like last sick season just ended. Did we really just have three whole months snot-free?! Welcome back! The season of sickness is upon us!
As I’ve mentioned before, getting sick over here isn’t a whole lot of fun as we aren’t a ‘hearty people’. Heck, I realize that it’s not much fun anywhere on the planet- but as I sit here sipping my coffee I am thinking about all of the things to contend with in the months ahead. We wash hands like people with OCD. I give vitamins. We sleep well (well. THEY do). Our diet is good. But how, how can I keep them from catching the crud? Truth is, I can’t.
I will say, however, that this season- WE ARE READY. Between my sister, my cousin, and in-laws visiting this summer I have lots of US contraband:
- 5 bottles children’s ibuprofen
- 3 bottles benedryl/allergy stuff
- 8 bottles cold congestion stuff
- 3 bottles NyQuil/DayQuil (for hubs)
- 1 box NyQuil/DayQuil capsules (for me)
- 2 boxes Culturelle (probiotic)
Additionally I can buy here eucalyptus oil (I sprinkle on the underside of pillows during congested nights) and ravensara (can’t remember but it’s supposed to help when mixed with oil and rubbed behind the ears).
There’s nothing quite like having a cold and not being able to buy something to help you feel better- and for my husband and I that is NyQuil. I am of the school that drugging myself until I feel better is the way to go. No, I don’t drug the crap out of my kids- but I DO like to give them some medicine before bed so that they can sleep. I don’t mind if I have a haze to wade through, but no, I don’t believe in doing that to my kids. Do they even make stuff that does that?
Last sick season was so scary. We had our first taste of illnesses previously unknown like croup. Additionally, I didn’t know what medicines to buy or where to find them. I didn’t know that a) the only thing they have here is paracetamol and b) it was sold at any store (when it was open). Since kid sicknesses most often pop up after dark, we were pretty much screwed if someone needed something after 5pm (or on a Sunday) and we didn’t have it on hand. Last season we made it with a couple of bottles of children’s ibuprofen, a few bottles of children’s Benedryl and ONE, one precious bottle of Children’s Cold Mucinex that I brought with us.
With three kids who typically all get sick at the same time- doling out medicine is a production. Every drop is precious in that I don’t want to give too much AND what we have can’t easily be replaced. There are criteria for eligibility of receiving medicine: Are you sick? Are you sure you’re sick? Like do you have a fever and really need something? Furthermore those middle of the night dose cups in the bathroom are sometimes hard to read so you need to wake yourself up to give the stuff out. NONE can be wasted. This is no joke.
So this morning at 4am when C’s cough would not quietly go away- I knew I had to give up some Vicks and some Mucinex. I’m wondering how this season will go. How many awkward phone calls will I make meekly begging someone to speak English and frantically trying to convert a farenheit fever temp to celsius? Is there another run or two to the late night emergency where chances are the doc will take one quick glance and send us home? Probably. Living abroad does come with its disadvantages- and this is the biggest one as far as I’m concerned. The best we can do is be ready for it.
Any other expats out there deal with this? And ps- tips for easing coughs/colds would be greatly appreciated.