After I finished my fitness classes yesterday, I was heading to my sister’s to drop Ty off so I could go grocery shopping when I got a call from Tristyn’s teacher. She informed me that my sweet baby was sent to the clinic for stomach pains. Her teacher said she went really pale, couldn’t eat her lunch and had tears rolling down her face as she held her tummy. I went straight to the school to pick up my pitiful girl and decided to just hit up Walmart for the grocery items we couldn’t live without for the next few days. I was hoping that this particular bug would be mild and short-lived since Tristyn hadn’t thrown up, but then she started puking at midnight and hasn’t stopped for very long since. Since I couldn’t make it to class this morning, I decided to write a post on what I do to get through these tough times instead. I just saw another friend complaining that the bug hit her household yesterday as well, so I have a feeling there are a few of us suffering together. I’ve been dealing with this stuff for 13 years now, so I kinda feel like an old pro. Wanna know what I do to get through it? Well, here ya go!
Quarantine the Child
I don’t mean put them in a room and wrap the doorway in cling wrap and caution tape and slip food under the door. I just mean separate the child from the common areas of the house. My 4 girls share a bed, so when one of them gets sick, they have to sleep somewhere else. I like to make a little pallet out of a comforter and put it near my room. This way, if they puke in the middle of the night, I can hear them, they won’t puke all over someone else, and if they miss their bucket, it’ll only dirty up one comforter and the hard floor, which is easy to clean.
Get a Bucket
One year for Christmas, my kids all got these huge cups filled with cotton candy. The cups were big and thick, so I kept them. Somehow, they became our “Puke Buckets.” I keep one in the car and several in the house. As soon as someone gets sick, they get their pallet and a cup to puke in.
Put a Cold Wet Rag on Their Head
My husband is the king of the cold wet rag. It’s the first thing he turns to anytime he feels under the weather, and for good reason. Even if you aren’t running a fever, a cold wet rag to the head is really quite soothing.
Stock Up on Essentials
I like to keep chicken noodle soup, chicken broth, saltine crackers, applesauce, bananas, bread, hot tea, Jell-O, Gatorade, Pepto-Bismol, Loperamide (Immodium), ibuprofen, and acetaminophen on hand for when stomach bugs hit. Oh, and bleach, Lysol and hydrogen peroxide cleaners.
Keep Them Hydrated
This one is hard to do when everything you put in your child’s mouth seems to keep coming out. My sister follows a rule where you don’t give them anything to eat or drink until 2 hours after they last puked. I don’t follow that rule because more often than not, they are puking more than every 2 hours. I give my kids Gatorade and water to sip on. I don’t let them drink too fast or too much, but I let them drink as long as they want to. Sure, it might come right back up, but in my experience, it’s better to puke up a little liquid than dry heave.
Watch What They Eat
My go-to foods for anyone in my house who has had a stomach bug are chicken noodle soup (or just chicken broth, depending on how ill they feel), saltine crackers, banana, applesauce, Jell-O, Gatorade, hot tea, and toast. I typically don’t let them eat anything until they haven’t puked for a couple of hours, and I don’t let them resume normal food until they feel better. My best advice is let your kid listen to their body. If they feel like they can’t eat, don’t force it. If they feel like they’re ready to eat normally, let them. If it doesn’t work out, go back to smaller amounts of bland foods.
Sanitize and Talk About Prevention
Let’s be honest, stomach bugs are not 100% preventable. You can wash your hands religiously, Lysol everything you own every 30 seconds, quarantine your entire house and still get a stomach bug. The viruses that cause stomach bugs are like super viruses. They are hard to kill. It’s still a good idea to try. I recommend bleach, Lysol and hydrogen peroxide products, as I have heard they work the best at killing most viruses. Talk to your child about why it’s important to try and keep their germs to themselves. It is impossible to keep a child from sharing their germs completely, but early education really helps. Discuss what germs are and how they make us sick. Illustrate to them how germs may stick to their hands after they touch one thing and then can transfer after they touch something else. The goal in this is to make your child aware not scared. It’s good for them to not want to drink after someone because they don’t want to share germs, but it’s not so good for them to fear playing with their friends or using a public restroom. Teach them to cough/sneeze away from people and into their elbow (not in their hands), wash their hands frequently (especially before they eat and after they touch something that is known to have bad germs) and correctly (have them sing the Happy Birthday song so they wash them long enough), and to be mindful of what they put in their mouth (including their hands). Practice what you preach and be consistent in preaching it and I promise, your kids will have better habits when it comes to spreading germs.
So that’s what I do to get through a stomach bug. What do you do?