As I write this week’s column, I must confess, I am not the picture of health and the bedside locker is heaving with a plethora of medication – Lemsip, cough bottle, saline spray and a mountain of tissues.

I could say sure, it’s going around – every second person I talk to either has the flu or vomiting bug but the truth is, I’m raging with myself.

It all started the weekend before last when my daughter spiked a temperature but that’s nothing new – she is in preschool, or ‘Germ City’ as my husband calls it. She ended up on antibiotics. A day or two later, my husband was as sick as a small hospital (man flu, I’ll say no more for the sake of my marriage). I thought myself and the baby had escaped but then last weekend, I woke up to a bark of a cough coming from the cot. Game over, I thought, as I coughed right back at him.

But back to why I am raging. If I’m to be completely honest, I have taken my eye off the ball. COVID-19 has arrived at our door three times over the years. It is of course the most random of viruses but by following the rules, self-isolating, masks, hand hygiene etc, we were for the most part, able to contain it and limit the spread. My four-year-old daughter was just 10 weeks old when the pandemic hit, and I lost sleep over her picking it up but to this day, she has never tested positive.

Wiping snot

Last year, when she had Strep-A, I was able to contain it from our baby. I do believe breastfeeding had a role to play in terms of the antibodies protecting him. However, I also know that when I brought my daughter to the doctor for antibiotics, I, too, had to be prescribed steroid cream because my hands were red raw from washing them every time I went from holding one child to the other.

All the lessons that have been drilled into us in recent years in terms of limiting infection really have fallen to the wayside

Yet in the last week, my hygiene measures have been lax. I wiped snot from the kids and didn’t rush to the sink. Dirty tissues were disposed of, of course, but not in the toxic control procedure that we have become used to in recent years. Bed sheets weren’t immediately boiled and the Dettol spray might as well have been on holidays.

All the lessons that have been drilled into us in recent years in terms of limiting infection really have fallen to the wayside. I’m being very honest here but I suspect that many readers, are probably nodding their heads in agreement.

So here I am acknowledging that I’ve learned my lesson the hard way. Indeed, due to COVID-19, we changed our way of life in terms of infection control. It did have an impact, although we’ll never know to what extent. Of course so many people did everything they could to contain the infection and it still passed from person-to-person but all the hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing did help us emerge from those lockdowns, acknowledging that the infection is still very much present within the community.

Last week, we heard that, sadly, a man has passed away from measles, an infection many believe they have immunity to, and we might have experienced a bit of deja-vú reading words like tracing and close contacts. So perhaps it’s time for many of us to revise the simple infection controls that have been drummed into us – washing hands, using sanitiser, disinfecting surfaces, covering our mouths with our elbows when we cough and staying at home when you’re not feeling well.

Now pass me the Lemsip, please.

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