How to STOP the Stomach Flu

And now, for the promised post you have all been dying to read… (haha) Smile

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.

But still.

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…

How to STOP the Stomach Flu

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!!! Smile

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??

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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!

10 thoughts on “How to STOP the Stomach Flu

  1. Great info! We followed all this and confined the sickness to only 3 out of the 6 of us who were around each other! So the first 3 came down with it about the same time and once we knew they were “infected” we prevented anyone else from coming down with it! YEAH!!!!!!!!!

  2. Our son got a bad stomach bug last fall and I pretty much followed him around with lysol, bleached everything I could and segregated him from our 1 year old. No one else in the family got it. And thank goodness because my husband was traveling at the time and I was on my own. we have no family to jump in to help out in times like that. Had I gotten sick too….it would have been a disaster. Since our kids are in daycare…I follow a pretty strict Lysol/Bleach routine. I use very natural cleaning products in all other aspects…laundry etc. But when it comes to bathrooms and kitchens…I can’t help myself….I bring out the big guns!

  3. Some stomach bugs are also caused by bacteria which are in or in some foods so food preparation and storage are very important, also. So, you can eat viruses and bacteria contaminating food, also.

  4. I have such a phobia of vomit to the extreme that you do. I worry about when I have kids but I know it’s just something you have to deal with. Thanks for the post!

  5. my mom dad and niece and sister got the stomach virus and my brother stay from it im left at my house and i spray lysol everywhere

  6. i was with someone yesterday whos daughter had started with a bug the night before… I was working with he yesterday and she felt unwell and started with it last night does that mean I will get it…

  7. Hi! I cannot figure out how to email Dr Annie but hoping maybe you can? She asks on her blog for new suggestions of what to test, and I was thinking about how effective is soap if you put it into a dispenser that turns it into foam. I bought an empty dispenser on Amazon to stretch the life of my hand soap, but it seems sometimes like I am now not using enough soap. Of course I thought of this question after reading her blog! I can’t figure out how to send her an email. Can you help? Thanks!!!

  8. Hi,

    I have 8 kids and I am married. All my kids laughed at me thinking I was being paranoid wearing gloves,spraying and sanitizing when they got sick. I was the only one in the house that doesn’t get sick thank god. I am so glad this came out to prove to my family I am not paranoid. It really stinks seeing them sick but I am glad to confirm I wasn’t paranoid to my family with this. I even sanitized the dishes as well because I don’t have a dish washer. The funny thing is I have a weaken immune system due to my shots I get. I don’t even get the flu shot again can’t anyways if there is a live virus in it or be around anyone who gets live virus vaccines. Though I may not get a sickness I have other things wrong that are not contagious. Its good to know I am doing the right thing.

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