It’s that time of year again. The kids have returned to school. The weather is changing. Everyone you know seems to be sick with some kind of yuck. All four of my family members are battling colds. My youngest started with cold symptoms over two weeks ago and he is still struggling with a loose cough. Most illnesses are caused by viruses that will eventually run their course (although, symptoms can last for weeks). Sometimes, a viral cold can morph into a bacterial infection such as an ear infection (common in young children). Regardless of the pathology of your illness, if you have an illness that is preventing you from performing normal activities of daily life (work) or fever (temperature greater than 100.4F) for more than 3 days, you might consider making an appointment with a medical doctor. Of course, you know your body better than anyone. If you feel that you should seek medical attention sooner, then please do so.
Prior to going to a doctor, find out what it will cost you. Contact your LCC or insurance provider for more information. Cultural Care Au Pairs can use this online search engine to find a physician. While I cannot officially recommend any physician, I do know of local Au Pairs that have received in-network treatment at UVA Primary Care Center (1221 Lee Street, 924-5321). There are no walk-in appointments at UVA or other in-network providers for Aetna Student Health (Erika) Insurance. Therefore, you will need to call and make an appointment. In-network means you can expect to pay $35 for your doctor’s appointment. This does not include the cost of medication that might be prescribed. Co-payments are typical with American health insurance. You will be expected to pay this amount at your visit. Aetna also does not cover preventative medicine such as well visits, birth control, or immunizations. There are other local agencies in town that provide birth control and immunizations at a reduced cost. Aetna Student Health Insurance (Erika) will reimburse you for any medication that is prescribed to treat your illness (anti-biotics). You will have to pay for this at your pharmacy of choice, but keep your receipt. You will need to attach your prescription (medication) receipt to Aetna claim form and mail to Aetna in order to be reimbursed. See the Insurance fact sheet on Infosource for more information.
The best way to stay healthy is to follow basic preventative measures. Wash your hands…often, especially before you eat or prepare food. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth (illness is spread this way). Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your arm when coughing and sneezing. Throw tissues in trash can or toilet after use. Clean or disinfect surfaces or objects that have been contaminated with germs (illness). Ensure you and your host children are properly dressed for the weather. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, especially if you’re fighting an illness. It is recommended by the CDC (or any medical professional) that anyone with a fever (measured temperature greater than 100.4F) should not be exposed to well individuals for 24 hours after the last measured fever (this is without use of anti-pyretics/fever-reducing medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen).
Check out Pinterest for ideas to do with the kids when quarantined to the house. This week, we made Jello playdough and Jello for consumption using Knox flavorless gelatin, fruit juice, and honey. We played with Matchbox cars pushing them through finger paints on paper before finally washing them at the “car wash.” We made a secret reading nook in a clothes closet and read books we chose from the library there. And sometimes you just have to get cozy under blankets and watch a movie.