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Susan Adcox

Say No to Sitting With Grandchild With Flu

By January 20, 2013

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Grandparents typically hate saying no, but if you are asked to babysit a child with the flu, just say no.

This advice is straight from the mouth of Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In a New York Times story, Dr. Frieden said that the flu season is "worse than average and particularly bad for the elderly," adding, "Having a grandparent baby-sit a sick child may not be a good idea."

I'm sure that Dr. Frieden knows that not all grandparents are elderly, but a good many are, and others are caretakers for the elderly. It makes sense to let a grandchild's immediate family, likely to be already exposed, take care of an ill child. That's why "Let me know if they are sick" is one of my 10 Things Grandparent Babysitters Want Parents to Know.

This year's flu outbreak appears to be similar to the 2003-4 outbreak, in which most deaths occurred among the elderly, as opposed to the 2009-10 season. That year the elderly appeared to have some immunity, possibly caused by the similarity of the flu strain to an earlier version.

The CDC maintains a page about this particular flu season, with topics such as how well the vaccine is working. The vaccine appears to reduce your chances of having to go to the doctor with the flu by about 60%, as well as reducing hospitalizations and deaths. In summary, the CDC suggests saying yes to the shot and no to staying with a sick grandchild. Some of us would prefer reversing those answers.

Have you or your family members had the flu this year? Leave a comment below.

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Comments
January 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm
(1) b+ says:

This is an absolute rule for us. I did tell my children that we could not take care of ill children. They were all very understanding. I am grateful for that. It is good to see that doctors are on the grandparent’s side.

I will retweet this one.

b+

January 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm
(2) Grandma Kc says:

The kids would have to be so sick that no one could take care of anyone before I would do this and they understand. Now if all 3 of them were down sick that would be different. Mom is still Mom even when she is Grandma.

January 21, 2013 at 5:46 am
(3) granny annie says:

We would take our chances just like my parents did. A single mother, I worked to support my two children in a time when missing work for sick kids was not acceptable at all. Hiring a sitter cost more than I made in a day, so my parents kept the children for me. There are many precautions that can be taken when keeping sick children and so we took our chances. Flu shots help but nothing is exact plus we all take a chance of contracting an illness anytime we step outside our homes or allow others in. My siblings also keep their grandchildren whether it is flu or just a cold. It is the family way.

January 21, 2013 at 9:31 am
(4) Lydia (Mai) says:

I have never had a flu shot in my life. I just practice some precautions as Grannie Annie said and take care of my Grandson when he is sick (or when his Mom is too sick for that matter).

January 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm
(5) Mrs. Tucker says:

You are so right that it’s hard to say no, but in this case it may be wise.

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