Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: fnygrl on September 22, 2012, 06:23:46 PM

Title: Children and Colds
Post by: fnygrl on September 22, 2012, 06:23:46 PM
Hello e-Hellions~

Looking to get your take on something that irks me.

We (my husband and two children, as well as my parents) were recently invited to a couple's home for a get together with them and their children.  At the end of the invite the wife said, "Make sure you're all healthy or you won't be allowed in". 

About three days before the get together was to take place, my children became sick with either allergies or a cold (sometimes it's difficult to tell which with young children) so I contacted the husband of the couple to say we wouldn't be attending since we didn't want to take any chances bringing germs into the house.  He said he understood and we'd make plans for a later time.

My parents did attend to find that the children of the people hosting the get together were sick with colds, and had been for days before I even contacted them saying we weren't attending.

If the person hosting the get together was so adamant about our being healthy to "be allowed in", wouldn't you think they would extend the same courtesy to their guests?

It's not an earth shattering moment, but was curious to hear your thoughts about it.

Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Zilla on September 22, 2012, 07:00:02 PM
I would be livid.  By the mere facts that their kids are sick and you and your family have been exposed.  The comment she inserted at the end there would have only fueled my ire.

This is a pet peeve for me so I am very biased.  I take great care in making sure my kids are healthy before putting them out there in the public and I would appreciate the same back.  I hate comments like, "Oh it's just a cold."  "They are almost all better"  or worse, "It isn't gonna kill you!" 
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: fnygrl on September 22, 2012, 07:10:57 PM
  I hate comments like, "Oh it's just a cold."  "They are almost all better"  or worse, "It isn't gonna kill you!"

It's funny that you should mention that.  Back in July, the same woman who said, "Make sure you're all healthy or you won't be allowed in" and I were trying to make plans to get our families together.  She said that both her husband and son "have been fighting little nose colds since sunday nite. (her son) is not sneezing or coughing anymore except during sleep at this point so i don't think he'll get u guys sick."

I'm so thankful she's there to decide for me!?

Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 22, 2012, 07:11:25 PM
I don't have a problem with their stance if one of the family is immunocompromised in any way.  But it is no guarantee, since you can be incubating something and not show symptoms, or could just be a carrier (thanks for the mumps, Dad  :P).

But they were incredibly rude to not afford the same courtesy to their guests.  Maybe one of the guests has to be careful not to be exposed to germs and, based on the invitation, assumed that the event would be as germ free as possible.

If none of them are immunocompromised, then I think their stance is a bit ridiculous.  Kids are going to pick up everything going around in daycare or school and limiting their other exposure is kind of like closing the barn door after the horse escaped.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Chickadee on September 22, 2012, 07:32:58 PM
Hello e-Hellions~

Looking to get your take on something that irks me.

We (my husband and two children, as well as my parents) were recently invited to a couple's home for a get together with them and their children.  At the end of the invite the wife said, "Make sure you're all healthy or you won't be allowed in". 


An "invitation" with that final phrasing would have ensured that I would not attend the get together. I have enough manners and common sense to know that if I am ill, I need to keep myself and my germs at home. I certainly don't require such a pompous reminder  >:(.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Iris on September 22, 2012, 07:37:18 PM
Unless someone had an underlying medical condition I would choose not to socialise with someone who said "Make sure you are healthy or you won't be allowed in". If my hayfever is acting up will I be expected to produce a doctor's certificate that proves that I'm not contagious? It's very unwelcoming, IMO. On top of that to be perfectly fine with exposing guests to *their* children's germs just piles offense on top of offense.

Although Chickadee has beaten me to it and expressed it better :)
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: fnygrl on September 22, 2012, 08:57:54 PM

An "invitation" with that final phrasing would have ensured that I would not attend the get together.

If something like this happens again, what's the best way to politely decline the invitation?
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Firecat on September 22, 2012, 09:50:50 PM

An "invitation" with that final phrasing would have ensured that I would not attend the get together.

If something like this happens again, what's the best way to politely decline the invitation?

Something like "I'm afraid I won't be able to make it" should be just fine. If they press, you can confess to having other plans, and don't give any additional information.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: girlysprite on September 23, 2012, 02:35:27 AM
It might depend a bit on the age of the children of the hosts. If one of the children is a young baby, I can sort of understand how the parents accidentally set up a double standard. After all, cold germs are a bigger issue for very small children than for healthy aldults or older children. Also keep in mind that there are hundreds of cold strains out there. When a person has a cold, it doesn't mean it no longer matters if he comes into contact with another cold. It might give hime two virus strains to combat instead of one.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Hollanda on September 23, 2012, 08:26:13 AM
What a strange choice of phrase for an invitation. It would make me angry as well and possibly stop me from wanting to socialise with them.  Like a PP said how can anyone be sure they're 100% healthy at any time? Unless they had also invited an elderly person, someone immunocompromised or a very young baby, I don't understand the need for it.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: cicero on September 23, 2012, 08:40:34 AM
What a strange choice of phrase for an invitation. It would make me angry as well and possibly stop me from wanting to socialise with them.  Like a PP said how can anyone be sure they're 100% healthy at any time? Unless they had also invited an elderly person, someone immunocompromised or a very young baby, I don't understand the need for it.
i agree. once you are out there in the world, you are going to be exposed to all kinds of contagious diseases - from school, co workers, on public transportation, etc . and as someone mentioned upthread, we can be sick and contagious without knowing it.

and it is especially rude, IMHO, that she banned sick people from her home, but she herself had no problem exposing her guests to her own sick family...

<OK, and who else was picturing Sheldon saying "what kind of sneeze was that? allergy? too much pepper on your salad? ok, you know the drill, i require two consecutive negative throat cultures, 12 hours apart">
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Roe on September 23, 2012, 08:54:06 AM
Do they have an infant/toddler?

With the pertussis outbreaks all over the country, I can see why they would be so strict if they had a baby or toddler in the house.  And in a way, it could set up a double standard if you had older children as pertussis is dangerous for babies and toddlers more so than older children, teens or adults.

We had the "must be healthy" rule to visit when our youngest was an infant and into his toddlerhood years.  Of course, if we got a cold, we would be sure and let our guests know so that they could make the decision whether or not to visit.  Most in my family just said "what a little cold? No, we will still show up."  Ha.

But, it was still their decision to make, not mine.  And what your friend did would truly upset me.

Next time she invites you to her house, feel free to tell her "Oh, if anyone in your household is sick, please be sure to let me know as we don't like to visit sick people."  Yes, it's blunt but she's blunt with you so if you hurt her freelings, she's just being a SS. 

If you don't want to visit her anymore, just say "sorry, that won't be possible." 

And if you do show up at her house and realize her children have the sniffles, it wouldn't be rude to leave.  I've done it before.  "Gosh, so sorry, I didn't realize little Bobby was sick."  "Oh it's nothing."  "Unfortunately, it can be for us so we will have to get together another time."  Smile and leave.  It's not a big deal if it's done in a "it's not a big deal" sorta way.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Chickadee on September 23, 2012, 09:51:34 AM

An "invitation" with that final phrasing would have ensured that I would not attend the get together.

If something like this happens again, what's the best way to politely decline the invitation?

I think Firecat's reply (#7) is the most polite way to decline, but I love Roe's reply: 'Next time she invites you to her house, feel free to tell her "Oh, if anyone in your household is sick, please be sure to let me know as we don't like to visit sick people."  Yes, it's blunt but she's blunt with you so if you hurt her freelings, she's just being a SS...'
Roe's wording makes the point that guests deserve not to be exposed to illness just as much as the host's children.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: SuperMartianRobotGirl on September 27, 2012, 08:42:00 AM

An "invitation" with that final phrasing would have ensured that I would not attend the get together.

If something like this happens again, what's the best way to politely decline the invitation?

I think I'd kind of make light of it a bit, like, "I don't know if I can handle that kind of pressure! (laugh) Maybe it isn't such a good idea to get together after all."
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on September 27, 2012, 08:53:07 AM

If none of them are immunocompromised, then I think their stance is a bit ridiculous.  Kids are going to pick up everything going around in daycare or school and limiting their other exposure is kind of like closing the barn door after the horse escaped.

Absolutely.  I don't get too bent out of shape if my kids get colds here and there. It's going to happen when the boys are in school and are bringing stuff home unknowingly then loving on their baby brother. Thankfully no one's gotten sick...yet.

At the same time I try not to subject other people to my kid's illness when possible.  If a kid is home sick and I have to pick something up from the store like a script or something, they go with me but are ordered not to touch anything and sneeze or cough into their elbow.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 27, 2012, 09:42:09 AM
The thing I'd be offended by is her assumption that I would bring an ill person to a social event unless she told me not to. 

I wouldn't be worried about being around a person who had been having cold symptoms for 4 to 5 days as you described in your post (you called 3 days before event and your parents said they had been ill for several days before you called).

To me, quarantine time for a cold is around 3 or 4 days after symptoms present so I wouldn't have cancelled on my guests if my child got a cold 5 days before the event.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: darkprincess on September 27, 2012, 10:59:48 AM
I agree with people that the host should have called the guests and let them know that someone in the family was sick especially because of her statement during the invitation.
I do wonder if this person lives in one of the areas with a whooping cough epidemic. The symptoms are the same as a cold but it lasts a lot longer. It is much worse for babies and can require hospitalization for babies. Unlike a cold, a person with whooping cough can infect others the whole time they are sick and that can mean over 4 weeks.
Right now everyone in my house has a cold, not whooping cough- we were tested. If someone comes over I let them know in advance that we all have a cold but I wont let them come in with cold symptoms unless they have also been tested and were negative for whooping cough. This isn't very likely because most people don't go to the doctor with a cold. It sounds a little hypocritical but we have to keep the newborn safe and we let everyone know if advance.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: turnip on September 27, 2012, 11:29:34 AM
I will say that I have a friend with an immuno-compromised kid and she struggles with inviting people over.  The wording of the invite may have been clumsy, but it may have been the result of other guests coming over with little Susie who "just has a case of the sniffles" and then her child ending up in the hospital with a lung infection.

I can't justify them throwing the party with their own sick kids though.  It's so odd that I'd wonder if I misunderstood something. 
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: violinp on September 27, 2012, 12:11:35 PM
The thing I'd be offended by is her assumption that I would bring an ill person to a social event unless she told me not to. 

I wouldn't be worried about being around a person who had been having cold symptoms for 4 to 5 days as you described in your post (you called 3 days before event and your parents said they had been ill for several days before you called).

To me, quarantine time for a cold is around 3 or 4 days after symptoms present so I wouldn't have cancelled on my guests if my child got a cold 5 days before the event.

Having a kid with a runny nose and hacking cough does tend to dampen a mood, though, even if the child is not actually contagious. If the kids were still sick, they should've been at least in their rooms and resting, not playing with other kids. I have a sinus infection, and have been taking my meds faithfully and have improved vastly, but it still took it out of me to rehearse with my church choir last night, more than a week after the first symptoms showed up.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Cat-Fu on September 27, 2012, 12:19:17 PM
Honestly, I'd have assumed that "Make sure you're all healthy or you won't be allowed in" was a joke, seeing as it's pretty OTT.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: sweetonsno on September 27, 2012, 03:07:54 PM
I will say that I have a friend with an immuno-compromised kid and she struggles with inviting people over.  The wording of the invite may have been clumsy, but it may have been the result of other guests coming over with little Susie who "just has a case of the sniffles" and then her child ending up in the hospital with a lung infection.

I can't justify them throwing the party with their own sick kids though.  It's so odd that I'd wonder if I misunderstood something.

This is pretty much what I thought. The wording was off, but I don't think the sentiment necessarily was. We all have different immune systems and react to bugs differently. What one person think is just allergies (or just something disagreeing with them) could be a nasty virus that really hits another person hard. It's not someone deliberately being rude (or even knowingly exposing others to germs), it's just somebody not realizing how bad their situation actually is.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 27, 2012, 03:16:15 PM
The thing I'd be offended by is her assumption that I would bring an ill person to a social event unless she told me not to. 

I wouldn't be worried about being around a person who had been having cold symptoms for 4 to 5 days as you described in your post (you called 3 days before event and your parents said they had been ill for several days before you called).

To me, quarantine time for a cold is around 3 or 4 days after symptoms present so I wouldn't have cancelled on my guests if my child got a cold 5 days before the event.

Having a kid with a runny nose and hacking cough does tend to dampen a mood, though, even if the child is not actually contagious. If the kids were still sick, they should've been at least in their rooms and resting, not playing with other kids. I have a sinus infection, and have been taking my meds faithfully and have improved vastly, but it still took it out of me to rehearse with my church choir last night, more than a week after the first symptoms showed up.

I agree.  But it's a balancing act if you are trying to decide between cancelling out as the host of an event because of a runny noise or cough or going forward and dealing with sniffles and coughs.  As the host, I would have not wanted to cancel out on friends who had already accepted the invite and as a guest, I would not have been concerned about my health with a 5 day lead time between when the symptoms started.  Would I have preferred to not be around a runny, dripping nose?  Yes, but I wouldn't have been upset at the host inviting me. 

Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Tea Drinker on September 27, 2012, 04:36:00 PM
Beyond the annoyance with finding out that the hosts' children were sick, my response would have been "What do you mean by 'healthy'?" But that's partly Snarky Tea Drinker: they probably mean "make sure none of you has a contagious disease," but hay fever is less serious than diabetes and no more contagious.

If the concern is pertussis, the woman who issued that odd invitation could do what a friend of mine with an infant is doing. If someone who wants to visit has any sort of cough, and hasn't had a recent pertussis vaccine/booster, they have to wait until the symptoms go away. Yes, there are tests for pertussis, but nobody who is on day five of what they think is a cold is likely to bother getting tested.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: LadyClaire on September 27, 2012, 05:48:42 PM
I will say that I have a friend with an immuno-compromised kid and she struggles with inviting people over.  The wording of the invite may have been clumsy, but it may have been the result of other guests coming over with little Susie who "just has a case of the sniffles" and then her child ending up in the hospital with a lung infection.

I can't justify them throwing the party with their own sick kids though.  It's so odd that I'd wonder if I misunderstood something.

This is pretty much what I thought. The wording was off, but I don't think the sentiment necessarily was. We all have different immune systems and react to bugs differently. What one person think is just allergies (or just something disagreeing with them) could be a nasty virus that really hits another person hard. It's not someone deliberately being rude (or even knowingly exposing others to germs), it's just somebody not realizing how bad their situation actually is.

One of my co-workers had a head cold that she assumed was just allergies. It spread through everyone in the office, and it hit another co-worker who has asthma so hard that she ended up missing multiple days of work, and didn't have any sick time left to cover those days.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Emmy on September 27, 2012, 08:01:14 PM
If I heard the request, I would be understanding.  I wouldn't want to bring germs into somebody else's home.  I do think it would be ironic if the host let her sick children mingle with the guests after telling you to stay home.  If the host was so worried about you bringing germs into her house, I would think she would be equally concerned with her children spreading them to other guests.

I have a story that makes me angry on my MIL's behalf.  MIL is 77, is in good health, and teaches home school.  One day a week, she picks up students to take them to where the home school is being held which is quite a long drive.  This immensely helps the parents who don't have to worry about transporting their child to and from school.  As you can probably guess, one of the students that MIL picked up had a cold and sneezed and coughed during the ride and failed to cover his mouth while doing so.  MIL was sick for a month.  I think MIL should have turned around and dropped him back home when it was obvious he was sick.  What kind of parent would allow their sick child in a car with an elderly woman not to mention the other students and teachers he would encounter that day?  It is sad that people are so self-absorbed that they don't think about others.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: acicularis on October 05, 2012, 10:39:33 AM
I would have been extremely irritated by this situation. A few years ago, before one of my children had surgery, we took great pains to make sure she was not exposed to illness. If she got a cold, congestion, or fever her surgery would have had to be rescheduled for a few weeks alter. We would have had to repeat blood work, physical exams, etc. It was stressful enough that she needed surgery, without having to go through all that.

If someone told us not to come to an event if we were not healthy, I would assume I could safely bring my daughter without risk of exposing her to something. I mean, why would someone make such a request, yet think it was OK to expose other people to illness? It would never occur to me that someone could be so rude and thoughtless.

Let me amend what I said: if it happened now, I'd be irritated. If it had happened then, I would have been furious.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: SPuck on October 05, 2012, 02:02:57 PM
I don't even think its a children's issue. If your sick you should stay home or at least inform people so they can take precautions. Last Christmas my sister-in-law started to get a cold and didn't tell the rest of the family until she had been staying with us for two days. I got a cold that lasted two weeks, and for some reason set off a cycle where I was stuffy inside all winter.
Title: Re: Children and Colds
Post by: Mikayla on October 06, 2012, 03:36:21 PM
Honestly, I'd have assumed that "Make sure you're all healthy or you won't be allowed in" was a joke, seeing as it's pretty OTT.

I wondered this exact same thing.  Amongst my family and friends, I can see someone saying this very easily (as a joke).

OP, if you think this woman meant it seriously, I think you could say something like "We'll have to decline.  I can never predict who's about to become sick".