In the winter and spring, it seems that the stomach bug hits our home every couple months. It’s inevitable when you have a little one in daycare, and it can be downright miserable for the whole family. When one person gets better, then another gets sick until the whole family has felt the wrath of the stomach bug. Unfortunately, there is no cure and the virus will just have to run its course, but there are certain precautions you can take and remedies to try to make its visit a bit more brief than normal.
Don’t Share Hygiene Products or Food With Others
I firmly believe that one of the reasons my husband was able to evade the wrath of the stomach bug this last time while me and the kids suffered is because he does not share toothpaste with us. He has his own tube next to his sink. Also, he did not share any food or water with the kids the previous day (before anyone showed symptoms), while I shared birthday cake, ice cream and water with my son. Moms just tend to do that sort of thing.
My daughter reluctantly shares with her little brother, and when he whines for a bite of her shaved ice or ice cream, she cannot say “no.” While it shows that I have instilled the practice of sharing in my children, it does not make for a very hygienic environment and it’s asking for trouble when one of them falls sick. Preach to your children that sharing is caring, but only when both are well.
Avoid Close Contact With the Sick Person
As moms, we naturally want to coddle our children when they are sick. We hate seeing them suffer and we wish we could take it away, but the closer the contact the more risk you are taking of getting sick yourself.
If you are sick, you should not be preparing food for others. I get it. You’re a mom and you’re family is expecting dinner, but these are one of those days where you get a free pass to order take-out for the family while you take a break. Handling food while you are sick will only lead to the spread of the virus to other uninfected individuals and you wouldn’t want that.
Don’t Go to Work or School
You will definitely not feel like going anywhere if you are sick, but I must warn you not to go out in public. Not only do you run the risk of infecting others, but you are not allowing your body the rest it needs to get better. Work and school can wait. The world will still keep spinning while you take a break and get yourself well again.
My daughter thought she would be sneaky. The night before her class trip, she fell sick, vomited and didn’t tell anyone. She even cleaned it up herself and threw the dirty towels in the laundry to cover it up so that she would be able to make it to the class trip. She and my husband were all ready to go with lunches in hand and heading out the door to catch the school bus, when her secret came out (as well as her breakfast), and just in time! Could you imagine the horror of her getting sick on the bus and potentially infecting her classmates? How mortifying!
Wash Your Hands More Frequently Than Normal
After using the restroom or changing a diaper, it is important that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water instead of using hand sanitizer, rubbing vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hands with a disposable paper towel and use it turn off the faucet.
You are losing a lot of water through vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating that it makes it so important to stay hydrated. Dehydration can quickly sneak up on you, and kids are especially prone to becoming dehydrated. It may be difficult to keep some things down, so you will want to choose liquids that are clear and gentle on the stomach, such as water, ice chips, chicken broth, peppermint, chamomile or ginger tea, Sprite or 7-Up and electrolyte-infused sports drinks.
How do you know if you are dehydrated? Those that are suffering from dehydration may experience:
- extreme thirst
- dry mouth
It may be tempting to chug the drink because you are so incredibly thirsty, but slow sips are the way to go if you do not want to see it come back up again in a few minutes. Also, don’t give in to your your caffeine addiction. Coffee and caffeinated soda will only aggravate your stomach and alcohol is a diuretic, so it will not help in keeping you hydrated.
Stay in Bed and Get Plenty of Rest
Your body is fighting a hard battle against this infection, so it needs to conserve as much energy as possible to repair itself and get you back to normal as quickly as possible. Give yourself a break and binge-watch some Netflix and take plenty of naps as well as get a good night’s sleep (if possible).
Wipe Down the Surfaces of Your Home (including toys)
Viruses can live on the surfaces of your home for days just waiting for its next victim. That’s why it’s important to disinfect frequently the counter tops, bathrooms and most frequently touched surfaces. Also, if your dishwasher has a “sanitize” cycle, this is the time to use it. This cycle uses high heat to kill some of the most difficult and persistent infectious agents. You will also want to wash all of the bedding in hot water as well.
If you are a SAHM or if you run a small daycare in your home, it is important to disinfect the toys that were played with that day to avoid the other little ones contracting the virus.
What to Eat
When you are beginning to feel a bit better and you want to attempt to eat something, don’t be tempted to sit down to a big meal. Start simple and slow with the BRAT diet, which consists of bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Greasy, spicy, high-fiber or dairy foods are to be avoided until your stomach is back to normal as these foods will only aggravate your stomach and may lead to more diarrhea and cramping.
While the stomach bug is certainly unpleasant, it is rarely life-threatening and you will be on the road to recovery within a couple days. If your child is not showing signs of recovery within 2 days, you should call the doctor or if he or she has a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or greater and/or is showing signs of dehydration.