If this was a zombie movie my daughter and I would not make it to the end.
We would be the supporting characters who get bumped off halfway through – barricaded out of the safe house despite our desperate pleas, battering on the door, utterly helpless as the zombies plod in and devour us.
For we are contagious.
She came down with it over a week ago. A nasty cough that got worse, and teamed-up with a fever and snotty nose to keep her awake, miserable and inconsolable for a whole night.
After getting a bad back from lying at an awkward angle with a snivelling child clamped to my breast in exchange for no sleep, I arose to find my throat had become raw and my sinuses were all bunged up.
So we’ve both been shuffling around with streaming noses and hacking coughs, but not quite ill enough to just stay in bed all day and do nothing.
Only, where are we allowed to go? I suddenly find myself running the gauntlet of germ etiquette.
We were invited to a play date in the park. I reasoned that being outdoors, all the germs would disperse into the atmosphere, neutralising our contagion.
But then she started putting other people’s toys in her mouth and getting all touch feely, and no amount of fresh air was going to make up for that direct transfer of saliva.
All of a sudden another baby’s nose had started running and I began to feel as though we had big red crosses painted on our foreheads, like they did to the houses of Plague victims during The Black Death.
I thought other mothers liked germs.
I’d heard about legendary chicken pox parties, where everyone gets invited round to catch the lurgy and get it over and done with.
It all builds up their immune system doesn’t it?
And apparently germs are at their most contagious before the symptoms even start to appear. So actually, it’s all those really healthy looking kids you need to watch out for – they more than likely have a snot storm lurking inside them.
But when we got invited to someone else’s house I felt obliged to send an advanced warning that we may be carriers of a vicious virus, and were fully prepared to be ostracised from all toddler activities and banished to an island for sniffling zombies.
I needn’t have worried. The message came back that they had been infiltrated already – they all had runny noses anyway.
It would be pointless putting red crosses on the foreheads of germ-ridden children. Not only would it mean marking every single one, but the two strands of snot running down the top lip already does the job.
And as I looked around the park this afternoon the zombies already seemed to have taken over.
I don’t think even Andrew Lincoln can save us now…