Tips For Dealing With Kids and the Stomach Flu
We have all had it, we all dread it, and we all hope we never get it again. What am I talking about? The stomach flu. I have to say though, that you haven't really experienced the full effects of the stomach flu until you have been through it with a house full of kids. Ah, the joys of parenting! As I type this I have three of the four kids home sick with it. Here are some tips I have learned over the years to help it go a little bit easier when the kids are vomiting.
- Feed them apples. If your child hasn't yet started to vomit have them eat apples. Fresh whole apples with the skin on somehow helps soothe the stomach and can frequently prevent vomiting completely.
- Have a puke bowl. Young kids typically can't make it to the toilet in time and this will save your carpet, furniture, etc. It makes clean up a lot easier if they aren't old enough to make it to the bathroom in time.
- Cover the area where they are hanging out. I laid a big blanket on the couch and some towels on the floor before settling my youngest child in for the day. This way if she misses the bowl I can easily pick up the towel and wash it. If it is night time, lay some towels on the floor by the bed or over the pillow to make for easy cleanup. I have cleaned my carpets too many times over the years and don't want to do that again.
- Get rid of the extras in their beds. If they are sick at night and are surrounded by stuffed animals, dolls, etc. then you know what you will likely be washing the next day. If you know your child is sick when you put them to bed, make your life easier and limit what they go to bed with.
- Move them to your room for the night. We have a super thick, plush sleeping bag that we lay on our floor and we move the younger ones into our room for the night. We are right there if they need us and it prevents them from having to crawl down from the top bunk to make it to the bathroom.
- Be prepared with food and drink. In my stockpile, I keep either Powerade or Gatorade on hand at all times. Kids can get dehydrated quickly and need to sip on something hydrating throughout the day. Popsicles work well for this too. I also keep bland crackers, chicken noodle soup, ginger ale and applesauce on hand to help soothe the stomach as they start eating again. The last thing you want to do is take a sick child with you to the store to get what you need to make them feel better.
The virus that causes the stomach flu can linger on a person for several days after they are recovered and can survive in a home that has had people sick for up to two weeks. If you know someone who has had the stomach flu recently, the best thing you can do is stay away from them. It can be frustrating because you feel fine and need to get back to school, work, etc but you are still contagious. If you want to stop the spread of the stomach flu try to stay home for a couple of days after you have had it. You can spend that time disinfecting your house and hopefully kill this virus before it moves on to someone new.