The months are slipping by, the sun setting earlier, the nights getting colder and soon we'll be spending more time indoors. Lots of people stuck together indoors means we're sharing not only enclosed, warm places where germs thrive, but we'll be breathing, coughing and sneezing on each other. Cold and flu viruses are not only varied and numerous, they're pretty hardy.
So my health advice is to stay home when you're sick. It's advice I've seldom followed over the years. Teachers get exposed to lots of sick children over the course of a school term. Kids come to school when they're not well because their parents make them, or they're responsible and don't want to fall behind, or perhaps they have an athletic event they need to be present for. Walk in nearly any classroom during the winter months and you'll hear someone coughing or sniffling. If you don't catch a few of those illnesses as a teacher, you've been very lucky or very, very careful.
Then the teacher gets sick, drags their feverish self into the classroom anyway, and spreads the cheer around a little more. When you're a teacher, it takes lots of planning to be absent. Most teachers will tell you it's easier to be there even if sick, then to try and makes plans a substitute can follow. I've been very guilty of this myself. But this year, I've faced the fact that I'm not irreplaceable. School will go on, even if I'm very ill. I'm going to keep all my coughs and sneezes at home.
So wash your hands often. Cough into your elbow. Avoid the ill folks. And maybe you'll escape some of those cold and flu viruses making their creepy rounds.
So do you take off work when you're sick or do you try to soldier on? Do you 'catch' bugs at work? Do your children or spouse bring them home to you?