I don't know about you, but since the new year there has been a bout of the stomach flu at least once a month visiting our house. With three daughters, by the time it runs through all of them, another gastroenteritis seems ready to pounce right around the corner. Oy! My youngest daughter has chronic kidney disease, so a bad bout can wind her up in the hospital on an IV drip. Over the years I've fine tuned our "Sickness Regime" so I thought I'd pass on a few tips. And at the end of this post is the Grape Juice Trick!
1. Keep a bunch of old towels on hand to cover their bed and pillow. If you have an old quilt, you may want to put that on the bed instead of their usual one.
2. Don't even bother with jammies!
3. Keep long hair pulled back into a ponytail.
4. Keep a designated "barf bucket" in your house. Don't use one of your food prep bowls! it An old ice cream pail or even a milk jug cut in half (with handle still attached) works great. You can toss it out without any remorse when all is said and done.
5. Thank God for modern day washing conveniences. Then thank Him again. Can you imagine what our great-grandmother's went through? At any rate, if the mess is particularly "chunky", you may want to consider swishing clothing or bedding in the toilet first or scraping it up with paper towel. I can't believe I'm writing about this, but sometimes you just can't chuck it all in the washing machine and hope for the best! Oh yes, and don't forget to give your washer a good disinfecting cycle.
6. Did your furniture or carpet get hit? Here's some clean up tips from ehow.
7. Contrary to myth, you SHOULD CONTINUE to give a child fluids even when vomiting. I went through the bulk of my parenting years thinking that you shouldn't give ANY fluids to a child until they've gone an hour without throwing up. What happens to that poor child if they are vomiting multiple times an hour??? They will quickly become dehydrated, and that will make their stomach even more upset! Pedialyte or other re-hydration drinks have electrolytes that can be absorbed quickly even if the fluid comes right back up. Just give small sips every 10 minutes. Drinking a large amount all at once is too hard on their sensitive tummy at that point. If you have no pedialyte on hand, cutting fruit juice, flat gingerale, or gatorade 50/50 with water can help in a pinch. Or here's few homemade pedialyte recipes. I've not tried these, but a friend of mine who lived in Asia for many years says this is what they used.
9. If you have a child that refuses to take their rehydration drink (I've got one of those!) then you will simply have to fill a medicine dropper with about 15 ml and give it to them that way. Insert the dropper into their mouth along the side of their cheek and squirt it in. Don't squirt it straight in to the back of their throat - they'll choke and splutter that way!
10. Start gently if they ask for solid food. You may want to wait till they've gone a few hours without vomiting, but their appetite is usually a pretty good guide. The BRAT diet is simple to remember - Bananas, rice, apples, toast. No caffeine, high sugar, dairy or greasy foods till the tummy has settled down totally.
Other than frequent hand washing, and disinfecting of things like door knobs etc, I've never heard many other ways to prevent catching the stomach flu. Today I read a couple tips (yay Pinterest!) that said drinking three cups of 100% grape juice a day helps prevent gastroenteritis if you think you may have been exposed. Apparently the juice changes the acidity level in your gut and will keep the bug from finding a nice cozy home in your intestinal tract. Whether this is a internet perpetuated myth or not, I was very willing to give it a shot, especially since my husband is away and the last thing I need is more sick kids, or worse yet - mama getting sick!
It is interesting to note that I know there's lots of stomach flu going around town, and when I went to the grocery store this morning there were only a couple of bottles of Welch's Grape Juice left on the top shelf. I had to climb onto the lower rack to reeeeach the last ones way at the back. Seems to me like other people are buying stock in it as well. If the whole thing is a myth, it would be a very cleverly construed one by the Welch's company, since they seem to be the only brand with the 100% grape juice!
Of course by glass number three at supper, we weren't so keen anymore, but still willing. I will let you know if it seems to do the trick. I'd love to hear if you have heard or done something similar!
Hoping that you don't face the yucky bug any time soon, but if you do...know that you have my sympathies!
5 days later....Well, I drank grape juice three times a day for 2 days, and my older daughter did it for three days and so far we are stomach flu free. I don't know for sure if this worked, but I am willing to give it another try if someone else in our family ever gets sick. I'll keep you posted!