Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Stomach Bug - 4 Things I Learned the Hard Way...And Should be Common Knowledge

It is winter. The days are often dark and short, it is cold outside, the bodies Vitamin D stores are running lower, and germs are flying fast and free.

I can handle some colds and coughs, please let us catch those if it means we can forever be skipped by my dreaded nemesis: the stomach bug.

 I admit, I have emetophobia. I don't know if it goes back to a bad experience as a child. Or the hyperemesis I experienced for the first  6months of pregnancy my oldest. Or when she was 2.5 years old and contracted rotavirus and she vomited 24/7 for an entire week and I was cleaning up nasty messes for a month (she was potty trained). Shiver. Just thinking of all those experiences makes me a bit jumpy.

I keep hearing of nonchalant posts about puke bugs on Facebook and I realize not everyone shares my dread of this malady... Lucky beasts, is what I say!

But regardless of where you stand on the vomit spectrum there are a few things I wish all good citizens of humanity knew about these viruses so its spread could be reduced.

#1 The virus can be spread for 2 weeks after you've been ill. Yeah, TWO WEEEKS!!!! It sheds in your... well, poop and saliva.  From Mayo Clinic:  
The viruses that cause gastroenteritis are spread through close contact with infected people, such as by sharing food or eating utensils. Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer is the most effective way to stop the spread of these viruses to others.

This sounds vague and harmless, many think "well I am not going to be sharing forks and cups, or food with people-it's all good!" . But how often do you touch your face/mouth/eyes? And then touch shared surfaces? Especially Little kids. I wasn't aware you could be contagious after the fact and we shared a bug with friends-I still feel bad for that one. When possible keep little ones home (yeah...hard to do) and try to wash their hands often.
**Washing hands well and often is a simple step everyone can do to avoid sharing and partaking in a nasty 24 hours. **

#2 Don't feed the virus! I have seen this over and over again on internet searches they say things like, "be sure to drink plenty of clear fluids. But stick to a BRAT diet when vomiting."
 I cry FALSE!!!!
I was shocked when my pediatrician recommended this, but floored by how amazingly it worked at stopping the pukes!!
Here's the deal, if someone is vomiting: stop all fluids and solids until there has been no vomit episodes for at least 2-3 HOURS. The thinking behind this is, that the sick person will become increasingly dehydrated the more they vomit (and the other stuff that, you get it.)- getting them to keep what's in there to stay in is imperative. If their mouth tastes bad a swish and spit of water should help.
 After 2  hours you can give a small sip- we're talking a tablespoon tops-every 10minutes as long as no vomit happens. After an hour try 1oz every 5 minutes. If they throw up: re-set the clock. If not try 2oz...once fluids stay down push them hard- don't attempt solids.  for at least 8 hours since last vomit episode. Keep an eye out for signs of dehydration. But honestly, I have found this incredibly effective in stopping the vomit phase much more quickly (except with rotavirus, in that case we sought medical help and the pediatrician prescribed Zofran - we didn't know about this protocol with that illness -we were only waiting an hour and after 36 hours of puke I took her in to the doctor.  It turns out it takes a lot more puke and crap to dehydrate but we got her those meds! She still puked a bit but it was greatly improved.)

#3 Wash your hands wash your hands wash wash wash! Bottom line, the less flying around the better. But if some one is sick the germs are in the stuff that comes out.  I really liked  Courtney Sullivan's advices over at Her 4 Tips are the best I've found on the internet, read them for some awesome advice!!  I guess with 6 Kids she'd know! Seriously, exactly what we do. Especially read what she shares about activated charcoal -I can't say how empowered that makes me! Also this is another great resource son it's use from the Nourishing Gourmet

#4 COMMMUNCATE - Seriously here, this may mot seem like a big deal to you, but you may be shocked at how many people care about this. And are greatly distressed when  they are kept out of the loop. if you or someone you live with has been unfortunate enough to experience this wretched illness in the last 48 hours. (hey, even that is stretching it for me. I'd prefer to know if it has happened in the last week-especially if  you're playing closely with my kids... yeah, I am on the freak out side of the spectrum, I admit it). Please be kind: give fair warning if you are going to be in close contact with others. There is no shame in it. Now I know we vomit-anxious people can't hide from the world, and I am certainly not saying you should. But a Simple heads up to some one you've made plans with -even if you haven't been sick is a wonderful and  polite thing to do.

"Hey, my son was throwing up yesterdday, I think it missed me. But I understand if you want to reschedule..." or a general Facebook mention so the emetaphobes on your list can avoid  pray for you.  Really now, letting others decide how much exposure they're up for is a really polite move. People who care for small children, the elderly, or who are out of their minds with barf-related anxiety will hold you in high esteem (after discreetly stepping several feet back). 

Bottom line, we all have our "things"... To some it seems silly, or weird. Lets all be human together and embrace that we're all different and some find these things quite awful.  Washing your hands, don't lick stuff in public (that's a joke?), don't feed the bug, and COMMUNICATE kindly.  

Obviously life happens...lets all try to make the stomach bug happen less!

 None of this can or should be taken for medical advice, consult your physician for that!

1 comment:

  1. You might try having activated charcoal on hand for next time? (I should take my own advice... we don't have any in the house right now. *shifty*)