It happens at the end of every term, you work at a phenomenal rate in term time, you fight off all manner of infections, coughs, colds avoiding at all costs any physical contact with the germ harbouring children and those parents who you deem to have poor personal hygiene. However no matter what precautions and preventative measures I take I still get to the last day of school and the following morning wake up like I am an extra in the dawn of the dead, zombified and infectious until I start back at work.
It is so bloody annoying, why can’t I get sick in term time? I wish I was more like my staff who take a day off just for a tiny sniffle or for breaking a nail but for many reasons I have more commitment or perhaps it is stupidity. Sat here feeling sorry for myself makes me think of all the infections and illnesses that have been transmitted by the kids or the great unwashed parents of certain schools I have led.
The scabbing, pussing ‘impetigo’ – I got a bad case of this when I first started teaching, it meant a whole 5 days of work as I was severely contagious. Several kids in my class had it and it progressed to me, basically down to poor hygiene. After contracting this I had to talk to people in public just facing them with my left hand side as the right hand side of my face looked like I had leprosy. This was bad news as my right hand side is well known for being my best side. It wasn’t all bad, we were in the middle of a heat wave and I got to sit and sunbathe for 5 days and top up my tan. As a result of this infection I took to carrying round a small bottle of hand wash in my trouser pockets and every time a kid touched me or I shook hands with someone I immediately cleansed my self. I remember one parent one time got quite offended by this and said I have washed my hands you know, I tried to make light of it by saying just don’t want to catch anything which made the situation much worse.
The itching, sore, red raw ‘Scabies’ – This turned out to be a rather embarrassing ailment, I wasn’t even aware this existed till I got it. One of the children in my class took in a stray cat that used to secretly live in the airing cupboard of his house without mum or dad knowing. Don’t ask me how they didn’t realise! Anyway the said cat was a dirty little thing and had fleas, the fleas infested the child’s bedding and then the fleas laid eggs in the child well something like that anyway. Sorry I am not a medical expert or a scientist but basically it is very contagious and the whole class got it including me and two teaching assistants. After self diagnosing once everyone else had it I was informed by several parents and the TA’s that I didn’t need to go to the doctors but straight to the chemist and ask for ‘Derbac cream’ so that is what I did. My advice was all correct and it saved me a journey to the doctors but did create an embarrassing incident. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have gone to the local chemist where I was well known to be the local Headteacher, I also probably shouldn’t have gone in to this on the way home from school when several children and their parents were in there for various other things. Especially when I asked for the cream and the pharmacist asked a very loud clarifying question in a very quiet chemists do you have GENITAL CRABS OR JUST SCABIES? I of course replied just as loudly JUST SCABIES!
Have you finished school yet? Are you ill? Have you any funny stories regarding infections caught in school?