The stomach bug is the worst. The vomit is unpredictable. The stomach cramping is constant. And the flashes of chills and then hot flashes agonizingly ward off sleep. It’s even worse to watch the stomach flu in kids as they experience this misery (especially when their vomit never seems to make it to the toilet). This guest post on how to help when your child has the stomach flu has been contributed by By Katie Herrick Bugbee of Care.com
7 Things To Do When Your Child Has The Stomach Flu
These stomach flu tips do not substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider when you have health concerns! You can use these stomach flu tips once a doctor has diagnosed the condition.
My family seems to get hit by the stomach flu once a year. It hits the kids, one by one, and for a torturous week, my husband and I (okay, mostly me) sleep on their bedroom floors, waiting for the small cry of “I think I’m gonna…” so we can sleepily stumble into action. Here are the things I’ve learned are helpful when children have the stomach flu in terms of prevention and comfort along the way.
Tips For Stomach Flu In Kids
Wash — and repeat.
The stomach flu is highly contagious from the time the symptoms start. But there’s still a chance you can clear the germs from common cuddle areas. Wash these things in hot water: your sheets and duvet (if your child loves climbing in your bed), couch throw pillows, couch blankets, winter jacket and accessories, favorite blankies, animals and lovies, toothbrushes, cups and utensils. Also remember to wash your hands repeatedly – and try not to touch or rub your eyes, nose or mouth unless you’ve just used sanitizer.
Disinfect all commonly used doorknobs, shared phones, remote controls, computer keyboards, toilets and toilet handles and sink faucets. Scrub the bathroom she’s using three times a day. And wear gloves. Also be sure to spray a disinfectant among your child’s belongings and most-visited spots, including her backpack, lunch box, computer, couch, and seat at the table. Remember, she was most contagious before she started puking!
Start a 3-sip system.
The saddest memory of my kids having the stomach bug was how much my son wanted to drink juice after he vomited. He was burning up and just wanted that sweet cold liquid to soothe him. But he couldn’t keep anything down. I called the doctor in the middle of the night, pleading with her for a solution. Her nurse suggested he take three sips every ten minutes. If he couldn’t keep the sips down, we had to start the timer again. This was the best way to hydrate him slowly, and once he felt a little more refreshed, he conked right out, with a bowl by his side.
Refresh cool cloths continually.
The kids are usually burning up with a fever over 102, but shivering with chills. But a cool wash cloth draped on their head still feels good. Also, strip them of their fleece or footed pjs and put them in cotton, breathable jammies.
Get as much sleep as possible, take large doses of vitamin C, eat fruits, veggies, chicken soup, fresh garlic and foods with zinc (nuts, meats, seafood, beans and spinach).
Figure out the care plan.
Your child clearly can’t go to school or daycare the next day. Can you miss work? Can your spouse? Will one of you be able to come home from work early? Would you expose Grandma to this illness? Is there a babysitter who can handle this? Do your company benefits offer a back-up care service that might send a last-minute caregiver to help? Look into all of this – and try to create a plan before the virus strikes!
Enjoy the downtime.
As our kids grow, they get way more active and independent. They bounce off walls and ask “what’s next?” when each activity loses steam. But when they’re sick, they become these sweet, cuddle bugs who just want to sleep, watch TV and give you germ-filled hugs. So soak in a little of this time with them – and then wash your hands!
Have you or your children had the stomach flu yet? Do you have any best practices of your own to share with us for how you help when your child has stomach flu?
Guest post by Katie Bugbee who is the senior managing editor and global parenting expert at Care.com. A busy working mother of two, she’s an expert on many parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect babysitter.