As Germs Circulate, Please Consider the Immunocompromised Children | Pages Da

There are a few things I liked about how people reacted to the covid-19 pandemic. I loved the birthday car parades, socially distanced Halloween trick-or-treating, my husband working from home, and how life in general seemed to slow down. From the perspective of a special needs parent, I appreciated the strict school guidelines that require 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 concern for my immunocompromised daughter Cammy is skyrocketing. Cammy has Rett syndrome, which affects everything about her and her health. She relies on others to keep her safe and healthy. We trust others to be smart and avoid going to school or out in public when they are sick. Unfortunately, we do not live in a world where common sense and compassion for others dominate.

Since I started working as a teacher again, I think about Cammy every moment. When a student coughs, sniffles or has a runny nose, I worry that I will bring the bacteria home to Cammy. If Cammy gets sick, she can go from fighting it at home to spending days in the hospital in the blink of an eye.

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Rett syndrome patient Emily Shifflet is pictured.

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It’s the season of anxiety

Thanksgiving is the first hurdle. Some years we have 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 bit of a cold. We stayed home not only for Cammy’s health, but to protect loved ones who have weakened immune systems who would be at the gathering.

After three more weeks of school and being exposed to more germs, Christmas is the next hurdle. We trust our extended family members to overcome the fear of missing out to protect Cammy. Otherwise, we spend part of our break at the hospital with Cammy.

Once we enter the new year, we still have a long stretch of winter germs to overcome. Mars is the next hurdle we have to overcome before my anxiety eases. 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 compromised immune systems. I am also very aware that not everyone has the support to be able to stay at home with a sick child. It is my plea as a parent of a child with profound special needs to push back to the covid-19 protocol of sending a child to school or going out in public when they are sick.


Note: Rett Syndrome News is a news and information website about the disorder. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 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.

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