As germs circulate, consider immunocompromised children

I liked some things about how people responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. I loved the birthday car parades, socially distanced trick-or-treating on Halloween, my husband working from home, and how life in general seemed to slow down. As a parent with special needs, I appreciated the school’s strict guidelines that required parents to keep their children home when symptoms appear. I wish they were still enforced and followed.

Now that we’re entering germ season, my anxiety about my immunocompromised daughter, Cammy, skyrockets. Cammy has Rett syndrome, which affects everything about her and her health. She depends on other people to keep her safe and healthy. We rely on others to be smart and avoid going to school or going out in public when they are sick. Unfortunately, we do not live in a world where common sense and compassion for others rule.

Since returning to work as a teacher, I think about Cammy every moment. When a student coughs, sniffles, or has a runny nose, I worry about taking the germs home to Cammy. If Cammy gets sick, she can progress from fighting at home to spending days in the hospital in the blink of an eye.

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Thanksgiving is the first hurdle. Some years, we had to divide and conquer. My husband took our other daughter, Ryan, to celebrate Thanksgiving with his side of the family, while I stayed home with Cammy, who had a minor cold. We stayed home not just for Cammy’s health, but to protect loved ones who have weakened immune systems and would be at the meeting.

After three more weeks of school and exposure to more germs, Christmas is the next hurdle. We rely on our family members to overcome the fear of losing in order to protect Cammy. Otherwise, we’ll be spending part of our vacation at the hospital with Cammy.

As we enter the new year, we still have a long stretch of winter germs to overcome. March is the next hurdle we have to get over before my anxiety subsides. It’s the last trigger month that historically lands Cammy in the hospital, due to what appears to be a common cold.

I am hypersensitive to people with weakened immune systems. I am also aware that not everyone has the support to be able to stay home with a sick child. It is my plea, as a parent of a profoundly special needs child, to defer the COVID-19 protocol about sending a child to school or venturing out in public when sick.


Note: Rett Syndrome News is strictly a disease news and information site. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read on this site. The views expressed in this column are not those of Rett Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to stimulate discussion on issues related to Rett syndrome.

As germs circulate, consider immunocompromised children

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