The Health Department Just Called

The health department just called.

I’m not kidding. Apparently my youngest daughter’s school is so small that when multiple kids are out sick (my daughter has been home for two days with a chest cold) the health department gets notified.


I can’t count how many days of school I missed when I was little or how many my three children have missed over the years. The health department has NEVER called before.

The woman was super nice. Very concerned. “How is your daughter feeling? When did she come down with symptoms? Has she seen the doctor?”

Yes, yesterday, and they looked at her ears, eyes, nose, throat, took her temperature, and did a rapid strep test. The results? They said, "She probably has a virus.”

Btw, that is exactly what I knew that is what the doctor was going to say. This is not my first rodeo. This is my third kid and I know the drill: Antibiotics are a last resort. Most everything is viral to begin with. If they don’t get better, sometimes a secondary bacterial infection can occur, then they need antibiotics... blah blah blah. It’s a waiting game. They get better on their own, or you wait for the secondary infection to arrive, and THEN you get a prescription for antibiotics.

I told the woman on the phone all of this. She replied, “Was she tested for the flu?”

There’s a test for the flu???

I said, “No, but she did get a flu shot two weeks ago.”
“The flu shot doesn’t cover all strains of the flu.”
(No sh*t Sherlock.) 

“Okay, but if they were worried about the flu, wouldn’t they have tested her for it?”
She replied, “Not necessarily.”
“What are they going to do for her if she has the flu?”
“They will give her Tamiflu or something equivalent.”
“But that won’t cure the flu?”
“No, but it will let us track her in our files,” she said.

I see. So I should get her out of bed, dressed, wait in the freezing cold waiting room to see the same doctor who saw her yesterday to test her for the flu, so that maybe they can give her medication to lessen her symptoms, but not cure her, all because the department of health would then be able to track this in their files?  

Hmmmm… I think I’ll pass on that.

Nevertheless, this phone call has made me paranoid. I don’t like ambiguity.

Yesterday, I left the doctor’s office with confirmation that she just needs rest and fluids. Today the department of health has called and made me feel like she is Patient Zero for an island-wide epidemic.  

I need to wrestle my inner-neurotic-Jewish-mother to the ground and go make her another cup of tea with honey.