In the midst of the winter sick season, I’m beginning to wonder if it comes around every year to make us anticipate spring even more.

Last year my family and I picked up little bugs here and there all winter. This year I was ready for all of us to be healthy. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

It seems I was the source of illnesses in our house this time around. It started with a fairly innocent cough that got worse. That developed into a cold, but it didn’t stop there. A fever came on, and I ended up with a sinus infection that required a prescription to knock out.

After the cough began, I realized it would be smart to stop sharing food and drinks with my 2-year-old son, Zachary. I was careful not to cough or even breathe in his direction, attempting not to pass my germs to him.

Unfortunately, my efforts didn’t work. Several days later he came down with a cold of his own.

These sicknesses didn’t plan to go away quickly. They lingered on. So Zachary and I stayed home for about two weeks. I didn’t want us to pick up other bugs while our immune systems were weakened, and I also didn’t want to spread what we had to anyone else.

While nursing us back to health, I found myself sitting on the chaise lounge in our yard, daydreaming about spring weather and anticipating fun trips for me and Zachary, including adventures to the zoo and park. Yep, it’s time for spring to make its appearance.

Zachary and I eventually got better, and since my husband hadn’t caught it, we thought we had put an end to this household virus.

Shane had tried his best to keep his distance from us, and he was pleased that he hadn’t come down with anything. That is, until he glumly told me one evening that he was feeling congested. A restless night followed, then a full-blown cold.

Sick bugs recently visited some family members as well.

My mom came down with the flu on New Year’s Eve. Her symptoms included a fever, cough, weakness, fatigue and feeling cold. Her illness included a trip to the emergency room to be treated for dehydration. That’s where she was tested, with positive results, for Influenza Type A. Yuck.

My mom spent two weeks at home, taking Tamiflu and Tylenol, while resting and recovering. Slowly, she got her strength and appetite back and just recently made her first post-sick outing to the grocery store.

With a family of 24 and most of them celebrating at my parents’ house on New Year’s Eve, it would have been quite impressive if only one person caught the flu.

Shortly after ringing in the new year, my 21-year-old niece Nikki had similar symptoms as my mom. She didn’t go to the doctor for official testing, but she thinks she also had the flu. She tried the homeopathic route and bought Oscillococcinum, which is said to be a flu remedy, and took it for two days along with Tylenol.

She did feel better after those couple of days, but she’s not sure if it was due more to the homeopathic medicine or the Tylenol. Still, she ending up sleeping a lot for about a week before she recovered fully.

Here’s to looking forward to spring, to getting over any nasty bugs or viruses and to having a healthy rest of the year.

Sarah McKeown works at a local charter school and lives on the east side with her husband and son. Email her at