I was on the train coming home from Montreal last week when I got a text from my wife – “The teacher thinks A has impetigo”.
Great, I thought, yet another skin thing. This one sounded vaguely contagious. I quickly looked up “impetigo” on my handy BB Curve and clicked on the WebMD entry. What I found was chilling…
“Impetigo is a highly-contagious bacterial skin infection. It causes red sores that can break open, ooze fluid, and develop a yellow-brown crust.”
Apparently it’s been going around A’s school, and it looked like my beautiful little boy had picked up the bacteria and developed a disgusting skin infection. Sure enough, when I met him at the train station he had red patches all around his mouth – he looked eerily like The Joker. I tried unsuccessfully to avoid his hug and kiss in exchange for a hand shake.
This presented us with an issue that most parents deal with at one time or another – do we send our son to school or not? He wasn’t sick, he hadn’t been diagnosed with anything yet, and we wouldn’t be able to see the doctor until later the next day. On the other hand, he could infect other children and ruin their perfect youthful complexion. Somewhat guiltily, we decided to send him off and hope he wouldn’t make out with any of his kindergarten pals.
The next morning, A wandered around the house repeating “I think I have impetigo. It’s really contagious”. We told him he wasn’t qualified to make that diagnosis and then pleaded with him not to say anything to anybody at school.
That afternoon, B took him to the doctor to get the official diagnosis. After waiting for over an hour, we got the verdict – badly chapped lips. He was given some cherry chap stick and told to apply it liberally for the next few days.
So, we dodged a bullet on this occasion. It’s only a matter of time, though, until some other rash or weird bumps appear and we struggle with the “should he stay or should he go” dilemma again.