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Last week I came down with a bad cold. In two days we're supposed to get on a long haul flight to the east coast for Thanksgiving.
The last long haul flight I took with our son was a year ago. By the time we landed, he had a blazing fever. The next morning I managed to get into see my friend's pediatrician, and when she confirmed he had an ear infection in both ears I burst into tears. He hadn't had a temperature the night before the flight, but I had felt something was off. Still, it seemed crazy to cancel our trip based on some sort of mother's intuition that, in the cold light of day, would look like just another first-time parent freak out. In the end we got antibiotics, he got better, and we had a great visit with my family. The story, I suppose, had a happy ending.
This time around no one has a fever and no one has an ear infection. The stakes of this trip are also high, as we are going to see close family, many of whom have not met our 5-month-old daughter. My pediatrician gave us the green light, saying a cold isn't a reason to stay home and to just bring some Advil for the baby in case the congestion gets painful with the pressure change.
We still have some time for everyone to get healthy, and I'm trying to convince myself that the cold won't blossom into an ear infection at 30,000 feet. Again, my insanely calm pediatrician has informed me that colds don't increase your chances of developing an ear infection during a plane ride. (The plane ride itself, though, does). While our daughter was born six weeks early, she is robust and healthy now, and I don't want to treat her like glass. We all want to see our family.
Like so many decisions, it's a grey area. But it brings home how hard it is to live across the country from both of our families, especially since, now that we have two kids, it's hard to imagine flying across the country for Thanksgiving and Christmas year after year.
So I'm going to hope for the best, but make sure I pack a backup nasal aspirator just in case. And believe me, that's just as glamorous as it sounds.
What are your travel trips for long haul flights? Have you ever cancelled a big trip because your kids were sick?
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.