I had the misfortune over the past week to be down with the worst gastro bug I’ve had in my life. I even ended up going on a little ambulance ride at 3am while my kids slept obliviously in their beds and spent some time in hospital hooked up to all manner of sweet sweet medical relief.
I can’t remember anything they put in that drip but mmmmmmmm, it was gooooooood!
But as parents, we all know what’s worse than being sick as a dog, right? And that’s having your kids catch the same thing.
Not only because as parents we hate to see our children suffer in any way, but also because the whining is more than we can stand – especially if we’re still recovering ourselves. (And nobody in my house wanted to listen to me whine. I know because I checked.)
It’s all very well to read tips that tell you to avoid going to public areas during an outbreak, but when the outbreak is in your own home already, what can you do?
As the first in my family to go down with the virus, I took it upon myself to get seriously schooled in how to prevent this horror from spreading to my three tiny innocent children, and my less innocent but still deserving husband.
What I’ve learned could help you too.
- Keep to yourself! That means no kisses, hugs, making sandwiches, or sharing the same bed. And keep that up until at least 48 hours after you’re symptom-free. This bad boy likes to hang around.
- Be a handwashing nut. Any time there is a chance hands will go near mouths, and after every visit to the toilet, get everyone to clean their hands with soap and water by rubbing vigorously for at least 10 seconds. (Tip: kids don’t know how long 10 seconds is but it’s about right if they sing the entire ‘Happy Birthday’ song to themselves each time they wash.)
- Bleach is one of the few products known to kill norovirus (gastro’s scary serious name) so wipe down surfaces in common areas with bleach once you’ve stopped exhibiting symptoms. You could also do it during your illness but if you’re anything like me, managing to get yourself a glass of water will be a herculean effort, so cleaning can wait until later.
- Don’t relax! Symptoms can take 1-3 days to develop so remain vigilant for up to a week after you’ve
recovered and then you can breathe a huge sigh of relief.