As a mom or dad, you're standing on front lines in the battle to keep kids happy and healthy.
Although the U.S. may officially be Ebola-free now that New York City doctor, Craig Spencer, is fully recovered, that hasn't completely wiped out the fear of the disease. You can't even go in a public space these days and sneeze without someone glaring at you and stepping away, as if you are the walking embodiment of the terrible illness. However, what people don't seem to understand is that despite the media's hype (and, oh man, did they hype this one up), Ebola isn't that easy to contract and, contrary to ill-informed troublemakers like the folks you find on Fox News, it hasn't wiped as many people as they'd like us to believe.
According to the World Health Organization, there have been 9,936 cases of Ebola this year and 4,877 deaths that have resulted from the disease. Statistically, compared to other illness, those numbers are nothing.
But of course that doesn't stop people from making mountains out of molehills and condemning those who have come down with Ebola, because of their work with infected patients in South Africa. When news broke of Dr. Spencer's diagnosis, some corners of the Internet took to wishing him dead, as opposed to getting the facts about the illness. If anything, Spencer and his colleagues are saints, and people who should be applauded, not chastised for their humanitarian efforts.
Another group of near-saints are parents, because they put themselves at risk every single day when it comes to illness. They stand on the front lines in the battle to keep kids happy and healthy, and that is no easy feat. It may seem absurd, but the truth is being a parent is far more harmful to your health than Ebola. Here's how.
The Flu Is A Persistent Concern Each Winter.
Every year pharmacies really drive home the fact that, although everyone should get a flu shot, it's the elderly and children who are most susceptible to contracting the infection. Why? Because, in both cases, these two groups, in particular, are around lots of other people: the elderly in elderly homes and kids in school.
According to an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, William Schaffner, in the U.S. alone, 36,000 people die from the flu every year and roughly 200,000 are hospitalized because of it. Since, without vaccination, it’s a pretty easy illness to transmit, the parent of a sick child can easily become sick as well.
There Are Also All Those Nasty Antibiotic-Resistant Infections
The problem with society's overuse of antibiotics is that certain infections have just stopped responding to them. Infections like E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus are more common among kids, because, 1. They've yet to learn out to properly wash their hands, and 2. They're always in close quarters with each other.
According to the World Health Organization, rates of these infections have more than doubled in the past few years and you can pick them up anywhere. In 2013, over 20,000 people died from antibiotic-resistant infections.
Chicken Pox Is Still Out There, Too
Although there’s been a vaccination for chicken pox since 1995, that doesn't mean every parent gets it for their kid, which means a bad news bears situation for parents who didn't catch the illness when they were kids themselves. It's adults who get chicken pox for the first time later in life who really suffer, as the illness is far worse the older the patient is, with them having a 20 times more likelihood of dying from it.
And Don't Think Insect-borne Viruses Aren't A Big Deal
When you have a child, unless you're one of those parents who let's the TV do the babysitting, you're probably outside more than most. It may be rare, but being outside can lead to mosquito-borne viruses, as well as run-ins with Lyme disease from ticks. According to the CDC, West Nile, yellow fever, and dengue — all contracted via mosquito bites — kill more than 500,000 people a year, and "40 percent of the world's population, or about 2.5 billion people, are at risk of serious illness and death from mosquito-borne viral diseases." Scary, huh?
Lastly, Of Course, A Heart Attack
Being a parent isn't easy! Your nerves are constantly being put to the test and every other situation is stress-inducing scenario that puts another grey hair on your head. But more serious than grey hairs are the chances of heart attacks. You may think there's nothing your kid can do that could possibly drive you even closer to the grave, but with over 600,000 people dying from some form of heart disease every year, you can never be too sure.