And now, for the promised post you have all been dying to read… (haha)
How to STOP the Stomach Flu
I would just about rather have ANY curable sickness than the stomach bug. It is terrible! To make matters worse, I seriously have a phobia of vomit. I have just recently learned that there is a name for this and I am NOT the only one out there who has this phobia. I literally have a physical reaction when someone around me says, “I think I am going to throw up.” Those with this phobia I know you know exactly what I am talking about. I have to get away and get away fast. I must say…having had the stomach bug three times in the past four years (before that, I had not had it since childhood and that even counts my four years of teaching public school — never got it once even though every single year I had atleast one kid puke in class!), I kinda sorta have worked through some of this phobia. Vomiting is just the body’s natural response to rid the body of toxins and viruses that shouldn’t be in there. I know that.
I hate to puke. And if you are puking, I am
probably not going to stick around.
Give me a cold ANY DAY over the stomach bug and I will gladly accept the offer.
During my last bout with the stomach bug a couple weeks ago, I came across this fabulous site called…
Written by Dr. Annie – a woman with a Ph D in Biochemistry, a mother of three small children and someone who has emetophobia (yep that is what it’s called – someone who fears vomit) – Dr. Annie has compiled TONS of information on this website to educate people about the stomach flu, how it is spread, and how long they are contagious, so that hopefully they will not have to get it so many times.
I was ALL EARS. Yes, please, Dr. Annie, educate me!!!
So I read the site and I believe we should ALL at least skim this site. It could seriously save you and your entire family from a Puke Fest!
Did you know….
the stomach virus is primarily spread through the fecal-oral route. Which means you basically have to “eat” the virus. When a person has viral gastroenteritis (the real name for “the stomach bug”), the viruses are present in their feces and vomit. If you come along and touch something they have touched (say, a pen cap or the remote) and then put that object or your fingers that touched them in your mouth, you have unknowingly just “eaten” the virus and within 24-48 hours you will most likely be sick.
a person is still contagious atleast three days after symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea) have stopped. This is what floored me! I had NO CLUE that you are still contagious DAYS after you stop puking and have diarrhea. And this is why this virus spreads so fast and this is also why good hygiene is imperative if you have just gotten over the stomach bug. Apparently the virus is still present in the feces of someone who has had the stomach bug for atleast three days after vomiting and diarrhea stops, BUT, depending on the virus, it could still be in their feces for up to two weeks! Crazy, huh? I was NOT aware of that before reading this site.
Chlorine bleach and Lysol® disinfectant spray are the best cleaning solutions to kill the stomach flu virus. Dr Annie uses a 10% solution made of 0.5 cups bleach with 4.5 cups water. Lysol Wipes and Clorox wipes DO NOT kill the virus! At the time I was a teacher I had NO IDEA Lysol was one of the only killers of the stomach virus but almost every single Friday as soon as the kids were out the door, I would get a can of Lysol and spray EVERYTHING – desks, chairs, anything that was frequently touched like door knobs and the pencil sharpener! Hopefully that saved many of my students from catching this awful bug!
The stomach flu viruses can live on surfaces for about 2 weeks. Once the last person gets sick and stops having symptoms, it is reasonable to assume that the virus will linger on household surfaces for another 2 weeks! Norovirus has been shown to live on kitchen counter tops for at least 7 days. Dr Annie wrote on her site that her in-laws had the stomach flu on December 18-19, 2009. They were well by December 20th. Relatives came to visit them for Christmas on December 26th (1 week later). Three of the visitors started getting sick 36 hours after arriving. Her in-laws never got sick again since it was the same virus they had just had. Moral of this story? One week is NOT long enough to wait before going to someone’s house who has just had the stomach flu! Dr Annie’s family went to her in-laws house 3.5 weeks after the last person vomited. She said she was nervous about going then and even cleaned the bathrooms when no one was looking. They did not get sick.
So…how can we take this information and use it to hopefully help us get the stomach bug less frequently??
- WASH HANDS FREQUENTLY. Since the stomach flu virus has to be eaten to infect you, washing hands before eating is a huge preventative. Also, keeping fingers and objects such as pen caps OUT of the mouth is a good preventative too.
- Since a person who has had the stomach flu continues to be contagious at least three days after symptoms stop, stay away from anyone who has had the virus for atleast 72 hours (if you want to be extra careful stay away for 2 weeks!) after they stop vomiting and have diarrhea. Dr Annie wrote on her site that if parents would just keep their children home (and not send them back to school/daycare) until atleast 72 hours after vomiting/diarrhea stops, it would protect so many others from catching the bug!
- Since the virus can stay alive on household surfaces for up to 2 weeks, do not go to someone’s house for atleast 2 weeks after they have had the stomach virus.
- Try to contain the sick person to one area of the house. I stayed in the master bedroom/bathroom the entire time I was sick. I did not leave from Wed night until Friday morning. When I did leave our bedroom on Friday morning, I always left with a can of Lysol in my hand! If I touched the fridge door, I sprayed it. If I touched the cabinet to get a glass, I sprayed the door knob. Call me crazy. Go ahead!! Dave did not catch this bug and I really think it was because we were so contentious to wash hands before eating and Dave would wash his hands anytime he came in the bedroom to give me something or take something away. I have never seen Dave wash his hands so frequently! He is so not a germaphobe like me!
- Clean surfaces with bleach and spray with Lysol!! For the two weeks after Little Bug and I were sick I cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen counters every 2-3 days for the first week with bleach. Every other day I sprayed everything with Lysol.
Number one defense is frequent hand washing!!
ALL information posted here today about the stomach virus was taken from Dr. Annie’s website found HERE. There is also MUCH MORE info on that site that was not included in this post today!
Go check it out and perhaps save your family from a Puke Fest!