We’ve all had it. We all hate it. For me, it’s one of my worst nightmares. Seriously… I have nightmares about it. I even dread going to be at night, afraid I’ll be woken up by that dreaded sound we all know all to well… burble… burble… burble… Bleh.
The first time my son caught the stomach bug he was two years old. I woke up to the sound of him throwing up in bed. He’d thrown up in his bed all night. It was a scene out of a horror film… wrought with remnants of spaghetti and garlic bread from the night before.
Trying to be the good Mom and Wife I try to convince myself I am, I bathed my son, got him comfortable on an array of colorful beach towels on the couch with a giant bucket I was sure he couldn’t miss if he tried, I pulled my rubber gloves on and started cleaning. I used every cleaner we had on hand over and over and over. The bedding I washed… twice and then proceeded to dry it twice just for good measure.
I was determined to kick this bugs butt, no matter how much scrubbing it took. But alas, little did I know that we were all doomed.
24 hours later my husband and I were both paying homage to the porcelain thrown and 48 hours after that, my son was back on his beach towel bed, much too far from an actual paradise.
So I did what a good Mom does… I started to Google. Behold, I had it all wrong. Until that infamous bout of stomach flu and Googling, I had no idea those regular household cleaners DON’T KILL THE STOMACH FLU… or Norovirus, and Rotavirus as I’ve come to learn. There are other strains as well, but the Norovirus and Rotavirus are typically the most common.
Did you know that the FLU and a stomach virus have absolutely nothing in common? The flu or Influenza is the seasonal virus we often get vaccinations for. This vaccination protects us from Influenza and only Influenza. It has nothing at all to do with a Stomach Virus. There is a vaccination for Rotavirus that you can give an infant before they are six months of age, but it only helps to protect them for a few years.
FACTS ABOUT THE NOROVIRUS.
- It’s hard to catch… but easy to catch. While you need several thousand particles of other cold like virus’s to catch it, you only need 18 particles of Norovirus to catch it. 18! That’s nothing. When a person is recovering from the illness, they can shed billions of particles. Hand washing is key people… hand washing is key.
- You have to INGEST the bug. NASTY! I KNOW. Don’t think about this to hard. It might make you vomit just by doing so. Fact is you have to EAT the bug to catch it. And this is usually in the form of fecal matter. Ahhhhhhhhh. Again… hand washing is key people.
So, how do you clean up after the stomach bug? I can say that, now that I’ve learned how to clean up after the stomach bug, we have NEVER passed it around. NEVER. “It’s a thanksgiving miracle.”
- Bleach – It is recommended that you use 1/2 cup of bleach to a gallon of water however, I do one cup of bleach to a gallon. Wipe down every little thing that you can… doorknobs, light switches, walls, floors (not carpet) and pour it in toilettes and wipe down sinks and bathroom floors. I even bleach out the throw up bucket twice. Bleach is your friend when the stomach bug threatens your very existence my friends. The key to Bleach is the DRYING process. As it dries, it kills. Bleach is your buddy when the Norovirus comes to visit, uninvited.
- Hand Washing – This is the best preventative measure against Norovirus. When you wash, it’s not so much about the soap (though this is a very important part of hand washing,) as much as it’s about the scrubbing. Those little Norovirus bugs are clingy little buggers (pun intended) and you have to scrub, scrub and scrub to get them to let go. In our house sing, “Twinkle, Twinkle little star,” or the “ABC’s,” (Same exact tune,) while scrubbing just to make sure we’ve got them all. I also prefer foaming hand soap. It’s easier for my little to get a good froth.
- Lysol brand 3. These are the aerosol cans. The key to this is dousing anything the barf or fecal matter has touched. Gross, I know… but we have to get down and dirty to kill this sucker. Also, make sure you douse the area very well and then let it dry. As with Bleach, the drying process is what actually kills the germs.
- Germstar Noro or Clorox Spray – I found these little gems online after many hours of research and they are my only peace of mind while out and about. Click HERE for the Amazon link to Germstar Noro. Pretty sure my family and I single handedly keep them in business. Ha. DID YOU KNOW: Most hand sanitizer (specifically gel based) do NOT kill the Norovirus of Rotavirus? This brand of hand sanitizers has been specifically formulated to kill the bug. Let’s just say I order a case from Amazon about every 6 months, and we rarely get the bug.
- Bleach based cleaners – Many bleach based cleaners claim to kill it, however I prefer my tried and true method of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. I don’t always trust the pre formulated house hold cleaners… even if I probably should.
- Steam Cleaners. I have a Bissell steam mop and I love it. Click HERE for link. Preferably, I steam clean my floors with it weekly. When my son has thrown up in an area I can’t bleach, like the carpet, I go over it with a good amount of steam.
Sadly, one of the biggest offenders are Mommies changing diapers. A person, especially a baby, toddler or child, can shed the virus for up to a MONTH. That means your babies little wrapped up poopie presents can be balls of Noro Bombs for WEEKS. Say that a baby poops in a store. Mom takes them to the restroom and uses a changing table. Baby touches his bum while being changed and Mom wipes his little hands with a baby wipe (which does absolutely nothing but polish those cute little tushy’s.)
Mom then washes her hands but misses a few particles, grabs the paper towel handle and the door handle. You come in next. Even if you wash your hands you still touch the handle on the way out. Then, you eat one of those free store samples we all love and adore and even sometimes use as a lazy day dinner for a families (guilty.)
24 to 48 hours later, you are bowing to the thrown none of us want to worship. Yuck!
Now, I don’t tell this to terrify anyone. I just hope to help a little along the way. We can’t avoid every bug, but if I can dodge a few by simply applying my knowledge, then I’d say my life has improved.
And that is it people. If you’re suffering from the EVIL that is the Norovirus, try these methods to kill the little bugger (pun intended again.)
I wish you luck in all your Noro killing sprees.