The 24 Hour {Sickness} Rule


You have small children and that means colds and flus are a worthy concern. You view every public surface they can reach as enemy number one. And let’s not even start in on those dang car carts at King Soopers … 

You are a diligent hand washer and your kiddos are relatively healthy.

But at this point you’re becoming stir crazy. Maybe a small play date with friends will be worth the germs. After all, it’s a small group of friends, nothing like the germ factory that is any indoor play area. Alright, let’s do this!

Before you enter your friends home, you take precautionary measures. You essential oil your kids to the point that the smell alone should fend off buddies from getting too close.

You open the door and go in the house. Your friend keeps a clean home and so far so good. But as you’re taking off shoes and getting ready to settle in for some coffee and play time, you hear it. That deep, barking cough. Quickly you look up and scan the room to figure out which child it’s coming from. At which point you realize the cough is accompanied by a green snotty nose. You think, “Is it too late to turn around? Is that my phone … please be an emergency.” No such luck, you’re stuck.

Forget small talk and mom time. Instead you help your children avoid the coughing, green snot monster. Exhausted from the stress of doing so, you have finally put in enough time to justify leaving. You load up and get outside. You’re barely out the door before busting out the hand sanitizer. You even go so far as to open the windows on the way home to somehow hopefully air sanitize your children. 

Two days later you wake up. Your throat is sore. And then you hear it … “Mama, my nose is runny and I’m hot.” Great.

It’s safe to say that kids are going to get sick. It’s bound to happen; however,  as mamas, we need to be considerate of each other. Not everyone believes in the “building immune system” method of exposing their children to other sick kids.

A few months ago I had a friend tell me about her sister-in-law’s, “24 Hour Rule.” In short, she waits 24 hours after the last symptom of a cold or flu before leaving the house. Initially I thought it was a bit much. Really, it’s not like life stops just because someone is sick. Then I thought about our colds and flus over the last couple of years…

I’ve worn puke out of Costco. I’ve cleaned multiple carpet locations because I thought it was just “something she ate.” I’ve wiped noses with my shirt because we run out of Kleenex while out and about. All of this could have been avoided if I would have stayed “on guard” for 24 hours. This also means that (as much as I hate to admit this) I have been the mom who has spread the germs.

It really bothers me that I can’t deny I’ve been that mom. 

The 24 Hour {Sickness} Rule | Denver Metro Moms BlogWell, not any more. Now I wait a full 24-hours to insure our kiddos are feeling better. According to WebMD, this is what is recommended in most situations. Sure, we might have to cancel a play date or miss an event. In the long run, it’s always easier to catch puke at home than it is driving on I-25. 

As an added precaution, after we have been sick, I make sure to tell friends we have just gotten over a sickness before we get together. Most of our friends do the same and I feel like this is common courtesy. That puts the ball in their court. This allows them to decide if it’s worth it or not to be around kiddos who may still have some lingering germs. I take no offense if friends would rather not chance it, especially if they have a vacation or something important coming up and don’t want to be around those germs. 

We can’t put our kids in a bubble, but we can try to avoid extra exposure. 


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