Unfortunately, the best way to survive flu season while having a medically fragile child is to avoid as many situations as possible that put your child at risk of catching an illness.
Sometimes that requires having to miss certain family events, birthday parties, holiday events, even school and therapy.
For medically fragile children, exposure to people in a household that have had the flu can be serious to their health. So, it’s extra important to be aware of the people you put your child around when they are medically fragile.
Yes, it’s hard when any child gets sick, but when children that are medically fragile get sick, it is taken to a whole other level. Unless you have experienced and witnessed your child in such a fragile state, you couldn’t even comprehend.
I’ve seen my daughter go through way too much already, that if I can do something as simple as keeping her from a person that I know has the flu or a stomach virus or a cold, then I’m going to do that.
I’ve seen Alyssa go through weeks of being ill and not being able to get out of bed, not being able to keep down her food, not being able to lift her head even on days, because she is so weak and fragile.
When you’ve seen your child go through something like that it changes you. It makes you want to do even more to protect them. And if that means we have to miss a birthday party or family event, then that’s what we’re going to do.
What defines a medically fragile child?
Medically fragile children are children that have feeding tubes, tracheotomy devices, need heart monitoring, oxygen, or IV medication administered. It is any child that has extensive medical needs beyond your average care for other special needs children.
Alyssa is considered medically fragile because of her feeding tube. It is her sole source of nutrition, and because if that her needs can be extra challenging, especially during flu season.
When Alyssa gets sick it affects her in ways that are so different than the average person when they get a cold or flu, or even a stomach virus.
She becomes very weak and lethargic. She’s unable to keep down her feedings. She constantly throws up.
Alyssa is five and a half years old and only weighs between 31 to 32 pounds. When she gets sick and she’s unable to keep down he feedings, she can easily lose a pound d or more during the week span that she is sick.
She can get dehydrated very easily, and if it wasn’t for her feeding tube, there would be many times that we have had to hospitalize her based off of a simple cold.
We’ve been fortunate this flu season to not contract the flu in our household, but Alyssa has had her share of illnesses over this season.
Being sick is no fun!