Stomach Flu: What you NEED to know.
So, I’ve already blogged about this and because it had such a reaction, I decided to create an easy to follow, no fuss list that is simple to read. Simple and sweet is my slogan after all, although there is nothing sweet about a stomach virus.
Long Story short, after years of dealing with a child who threw up 3-10 times a month, I learned A LOT about the so called “stomach flu,” which really isn’t a flu at all.
Later, we found out that he has a dairy allergy, hence all the puking, but I regress.
Here is ALL you need to know about the “stomach flu.”
- It is a virus. Typically the 24-72 hour puking bug is caused by the Norovirus. There are other virus’s out there, but this is the most common.
- Usually, the 14 day stomach bug is caused by the Rotavirus, also a virus. Rotavirus is notorious for causing diarrhea and hits young children and the elderly more often than adults, but this does not make adults immune. Throwing up is also coming with Rotavirus
- You catch the Norovirus, Rotavirus and their relatives by ingesting. That’s right, you have to INGEST the bug. It is typically spread via the fecal-oral route. Ewe! Makes me want to throw up just thinking about it.
- This means it cannot be caught by simply being near someone with the virus. You also cant catch it if they breathe on you.
- However, it is very contagious and easy to catch. In a typical cold or flu virus, you must be exposed to thousands of particles. To catch the Norovirus, you only need to ingest 10-20 particles… Yikes. Not a lot.
- Gel Based Hand Sanitizers don’t kill it. They actually… gulp, protect it. This germ is one resilient bugger. For this reason, I buy a special spray hand sanitizer formulated for these stomach viruses. It’s called Germstar Noro. I LOVE IT! I carry it with me everywhere and I SWEAR by it. We rarely if ever catch those viruses now. You can find it here.
- *Typical household cleaners don’t kill it. Cleaning a pile of puke with Pine-sole or the like will just spread the germs around.
- Bleach, steam and Lysol III do kill it. Mix 1 cup of bleach with a gallon of water and wipe every surface the bug my have spread to. Dump it in those toilette’s people. Wipe down light switches, door handles, Toilette flushers… everything you can! Steam what you can’t bleach. This is my favorite steam cleaner. I bought it 4 years ago and it’s still going strong. It’s simply plug and go! Awesome.
And here is a hand held steamer that I LOVE!It’s meant for steaming clothes on the go, but I’ve found it very useful when sanitizing around the house! Who knew?
- Lysol III what you can’t steam. Lysol III is the kind you find in an aerosol spray can. It is the ONLY household cleaner that kills the bug. Like bleach, the reason it this works is because how it slowly dries. It’s the drying that kills the virus. Weird Huh? Next to the can is a picture of my favorite hand sanitizer. I carry this stuff EVERYWHERE! Plus, it’s 3 ounces, so I’m able to take it with me when I travel.
- The virus can be shed in feces for up the 3 WEEKS and Mom’s changing baby diapers and not washing their hands properly are the biggest culprits.
- Hand Washing is the absolute BEST way to rid yourself of the virus. Because it passes the fecal/mouth route, we usually pass it from hand to hand. Wash those hands people.
- Symptoms typically take 24 hours to 72 hours to show up and they can stick around for 24-72 hours.
- The “Flu” shot will not help because these shots are formulated for influenza which has absolutely nothing in common with stomach viruses. This is often confused because of some symptom similarities… body aches, nausea and fever. But the flu shot will not protect against stomach bugs.
- You can get it from food, but it’s different than food poisoning. If food is washed in contaminated water or someone who has recently had the virus fails to wash their hands before handling food, it’s very easy to spread it.
- It can live on surfaces for DAYS.
- Make sure you stay hydrated, and water isn’t always the best option. Try and choose something that will replace electrolytes, like gatorade.
Make sure you don’t wait to call a doctor. If you or your sweet babies/children are feeling lethargic, have confusion, have a lack of urine or tears and the virus doesn’t seem to be letting up, call/visit a doctor right away. Caution is always best!
Here are a few things that help us when we, heaven forbid, do get a stomach virus.
- Eat Popsicles. It’s such an easy way to stay hydrated and, this is going to sound so gross, but it helps the vomit to not taste as bad when it comes up. Trust me… I have experience.
- Drink Ginger Ale and/or Sprite because it may help soothe those tummy’s
- Have a easy to make bed that is simple to sanitize ready to go, because well, you know. We have some pillows we no longer use ready to fashion into a bed when the need arises. I drape beach towels over this as well, because they are easy to wash if the, um, throw up and/or other get’s on them. Gross.
- Take it slow with food. Our bodies have a hard time processing food at first so take it slow. I like to follow the B.R.A.T. diet, which is Bread, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. These seem to be easier for the body to process after being ill.
- Have a bucket in reach of your children bed’s at all time because, well, trust me. This SAVES us, because if they feel it coming on but can’t get to the toilette, they grab the bucket and save me from cleaning puke of the carpet.
- If they can’t get to the bucket, teach them to throw up on their bedding… it’s so much easier to wash the carpet.
Alright… that’s what I’ve got. I hope this information helps you! Once I dug in and learned, I can honestly say that we’ve avoided the stomach flu on so many occasions. Also, we NEVER spread it when one of us is sick… NEVER! It’s a glorious thing!