Last Wednesday, my regular babysitter, Chris, called to say that her child had a fever and was vomiting. Thankfully, Wednesday and Thursday were snow days so we all stayed home together snowed in, and Liberty did not need to go to a babysitter. On Friday, Chris called again to say that her house was still disease-ridden. I called my backup babysitter, Sonja, who gladly cared for Liberty instead.

On Sunday night, Chris called to tell me that her two other children had the symptoms, and Chris herself was not feeling well. I called Sonja, who told me that although she would be available to babysit for the entire rest of the week, she already had plans for Monday. I called fifteen people on Sunday night and early Monday morning, but most of the families that I called had someone sick in their house. So I took Liberty to work with me on Monday and pulled out the phone book to find friends who could babysit. Craig tried to help out by making suggestion after suggestion, but after two hours of phone calls, I found out that most of the town is ill, including Craig's youngest son, which prevented Kathy from babysitting Liberty.

I didn't mind having Liberty at work with me, in fact, I rather enjoyed it. She is very easy-going and everyone agrees that she is delightful to be around. She found a rubber lizard in one of the desk drawers and loved wiggling it, watching its legs flop around. However, as her naptime drew near, small head bumps and trips over her new shoes became gradually more tragic. Finally, a lady returned my call who had a home daycare service. She told me that one of her regular children did not come in today (due to sickness) and she could take Liberty for me...just for Monday. Her home is only a few blocks from my work, so I drove Liberty over and helped her settle in.

On Monday afternoon, Chris called to tell me that she had taken a turn for the worse and to let me know that the school sent a note home informing parents that Fifth's Disease was spreading through our town.

I looked up Fifth Disease on the internet and here is what I found:

Fifth disease begins with a low-grade fever, headache, and mild cold-like symptoms (a stuffy or runny nose). These symptoms pass, and the illness seems to be gone until a rash appears a few days later. The bright red rash typically begins on the face. Several days later, the rash spreads and red blotches (usually lighter in color) extend down to the trunk, arms, and legs. The rash usually spares the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. As the centers of the blotches begin to clear, the rash takes on a lacy net-like appearance. Kids younger than 10 years old are most likely to get the
rash.

Older kids and adults sometimes complain that the rash itches, but most
children with a rash caused by fifth disease do not look sick and no longer have
fever. It may take 1 to 3 weeks for the rash to completely clear, and during
that time it may seem to worsen until it finally fades away entirely.

Certain stimuli (including sunlight, heat, exercise, and stress) may
reactivate the rash until it completely fades. Other symptoms that sometimes
occur with fifth disease include swollen glands, red eyes, sore throat,
diarrhea, and rarely, rashes that look like blisters or bruises.
In some cases, especially in adults and older teens, an attack of fifth disease may be followed by joint swelling or pain, often in the hands, wrists, knees, or
ankles.

Parvovirus B19 infection during pregnancy may cause problems for the fetus.
Some fetuses may develop severe anemia if the mother is infected while pregnant — especially if the infection occurs during the first half of the pregnancy. In some cases, this anemia is so severe that the fetus doesn't survive. Fortunately, about half of all pregnant women are immune from having had a previous infection with parvovirus. Serious problems occur in less than 5% of women who become infected during
pregnancy.


So Fifth Disease is not really a big deal...unless you are pregnant, because it could kill your baby (maybe). Chris and I agreed that Liberty and I should stay away from their house for a while because they have three more kids who have not yet succumbed to the virus and who could easily be carrying it. So I called Sonja to see if she would like to babysit for the rest of the week as she had previously offered.

She told me that her husband had become sick overnight. Yikes!
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1 Response
  1. Tiffany Anne Says:

    Town Plagues are no fun! There are several universities in the area that have succumbed to one illness or another. Last fall, Bob Jones University had an outbreak of the whooping cough so bad that they closed the school for Christmas break early. A really bad flu strain that knocks students out for about two weeks is going around here in Greenville. People are particularly sick at colleges where kids share everything with each other. Colleges like Furman University and, you guessed it, Clemson University where Spartacus attends.

    This may put a damper on our Valentine's celebration.

    At any rate, I hope you stay healthy! Avoid those sick people like the plague! (ha-ha-ha.)


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