Gross. A stomach virus. By now, you’ve probably spent at least one winter unable to escape the repeating offender all mom’s dread: the stomach flu. If you’re like me you’ve got kids in daycare, elementary, and middle school and it can be hard to keep track of all those filthy little hands to prevent the spread of this nasty little bug. Fight back against the misery (am I right?!) by following some of the methods we’ve learned along the way in our house.
Once someone already has the stomach flu:
– Most infections happen within 48 hours, although it can take up to a full week to claim all victims.
– Rest. Okay, this seems obvious. But seriously, it’s something I never am able to do myself. Take a day off work, it will save a few sick days in the end if you’re able to overcome the illness quicker. Resting also allows your body to preserve your calories and energy, which you will need to help boost your immune system.
– Quarantine all your little petri dishes and make (force) them to wash their hands immediately when they come in the house. This includes under the nails and up to their elbows.
– Wear disposable gloves when changing diapers or cleaning up vomit. I’m seriously considering a full bio-hazard suit as we’ve had two rounds of the stomach flu in the past 3 weeks, but I’ve been known to be a bit extreme.
– Clean with a product that can actually kill the norovirus. Not all cleaning products are capable. Frequently clean the areas that get used most often: knobs, stair rails, faucets, appliances, toilets, etc. A chlorine based cleaner is highly effective against the norovirus.
– Drink plenty of clear fluids.
– Eat a diet that is easy on your stomach, such as the BRAT diet: Bananas, rice, applesauce, toast. These are also the things that are least likely to stain your carpets when your kids vomit everywhere, so that’s a nice perk.
– Drink herbal teas. Hot teas such as peppermint and ginger relax your stomach and can help boost your immune system.
– If your symptoms have not subsided in 8-10 days, you should seek medical attention as it may not be a stomach virus.
– Avoid food preparation until you have been free of symptoms for two to three days.
– Have plans with someone who has had the stomach flu within the past 14 days? Tell them to stay the eff away. Politely, of course.
– Wash your hands often, especially before eating or touching your face. Carry hand sanitizer for those times when you are unable to wash. Be sure the sanitizer you’re using is actually effective against the norovirus.
– Keep your children’s hands out of their mouths. Or at least try, because we all know it’s impossible.
– Carry your own pens with you so you have less exposure to others germs.
– Shopping cart handles are the worst, be sure to wipe them before using. Most grocery stores now have anti-bacterial wipes near the entrance.
– Switch out your toothbrush when someone in your house comes down with the stomach flu – and be sure to store yours away from sick people’s toothbrushes.
– Carefully rinse vegetables and fruits to avoid the contamination by sick handlers.
Stay well friends, I hope this particular bug misses you and yours.