Friday, October 30, 2009

The price of cleanliness

With flu season in full swing, my son's daycare decided to be proactive and encourange frequent handwashing and hand sanitizing among the kids.

I found this out the hard way. Last week, Trystan had a false-sick day. He threw up at school on Tuesday, so had to stay home all day Wednesday. Of course, by Tuesday dinner time, he was fine, eating, and happy. Wednesday was a play at home with mommy day. That's very very aggravating for a working parent who has (had) a total of 20 sick hours to spend. (Note, after this week's strep/flu/ear combinations, I think I'm down to about 4, and I had to re-arrange my days to keep from hitting 0).

So, I was aggravated. I'm still no convinced that Trystan didn't just eat something he wasn't supposed to at school. But I have no idea what it would have been. Yep, this is all backstory, so we're all caught up.

Thursday, at work, my phone rings. One of the daycare workers tells me that Trystan has a rash. Mainly on his hands, a little on his bottom, and a small spot on his tummy. They're wondering if we were worried about strep, given the puke two days before. Um, no. He was eating and completely fever-free. Not strep.

I ask if there's anything he could have gotten his hands into (playing outside? Dirt? Flowers? Cleaning supplies?) No, they say. But we did start using hand sanitizer on the kids. "Its really nice stuff. It smells good."

Ok, big red flag. "Smells good" equals allergic reaction for probably 1/3 or more of the beauty products on the market, for me and the kids. "Smells good" usually means "we added bits of plants". Plants make us itch. There is a short list of scented products that I can use. Very, very short. And I'm not interested in adding to it. I buy fragrance free or hypoallergenic or "baby" everything. Though even "baby" products can cause problems--I went to one postpartum checkup after Charlotte was born, and I was covered from head to toe in hives from scented baby wipes I was using on *her*.

This afternoon, at Trystan's school Halloween party, the teachers sat all the kids down and squirted all but Trystan with their hand sanitizer before their snack. One teacher showed me the bottle. "See, its good stuff. Spa originals". Nowhere on this bottle are the words "hypoallergenic" or "fragrance free". It smells flowery. And no, I didn't care to try it on myself, just in case.

I got the impression that the teacher was still doubtful about the cause of his rash. By the way, they quit using that stuff on him on Thursday when I asked them to, and by the time he came home that night, the hives were all but gone, and haven't returned.

I think I'm buying them a new bottle of sanitizer for next week.

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