Preparing for the 24-Hour Stomach Bug.
It all started two hours before my virtual lecture, which was a fundraiser for #Marshallfires. I couldn't believe I was cleaning up my kids puke RIGHT BEFORE a seminar I had worked days weeks and months to produce, which was my very first using new software, online and "in person".
But, wallah, here I was, all dressed up and using the steam cleaner on the carpet while my husband cleaned down the rails of my poor toddlers bed. Within two days I myself was sick as a dog, but only overnight and the next day, and my poor husband is now currently in the throes of it just days later.
(Funny how he didn't realize how BAD it was until he was wrecked at 3pm laying in bed instead of in his "office" upstairs. I digress)
Here in the Gunnison Valley, the 24-Hour stomach flu, or Norovirus, is running rampant. It's affecting our daycares, our workout routines and causing disarray in our community (and homes. obviously).
An aggressive and not easy to quarantine virus, it is quite different from COVID.
So what is a norovirus?
One of those nasty gut "flus" that makes you puke-y and rush to the bathroom to… er… extrude out of both ends? Yes, and it's going wild in our community. The norovirus is passed through touching, nasal sprays, fecal and oral contamination. UNLIKE COVID, it lasts WAY longer on surfaces and absolutely can be on everything you touch in a public space.
How does this NOROVIRUS differ from COVID? And other cold/flus?
Unlike COVID, with the stomach flu norovirus present in our community, there are NO symptoms in the lungs, sinuses, or any phlegm. With this Norovirus, symptoms lasts a mere 1-3 days, right when an expected COVID attack would be getting worse.
Comparing Norovirus to other cold/flus:
Cause: Rhinovirus (rhino= nose)
Symptoms: Fever, runny nose, cough, body aches, maybe sore throat.
Fever lasts 2-3 days, 4 tops. 2-7 days to get sick.
Transmission: Passed by respiratory droplets, touching snot.
Cause: Influenza virus
Symptoms: High fever, body aches, and chills. Followed by runny nose, cough and sore throat.
Fever can be over 102 and last 5-7 days.
Transmission: Passed by respiratory droplets in the air.
24 Hour GI BUG:
Symptoms: stomach pain, body aches (examples: low back, core and thigh pain), headache, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea.
Transmission: Passed by touching infected surfaces/countertops or vomit/diarrhea.
COVID Omnicron Variant:
Cause: COVID19 Virus Omnicron variant
Symptoms: Begins with runny nose (73%), Headache (68%) Fatigue (64%), SNEEZING 60%, sore throat (60%) Persistent cough (44%) Hoarse voice (36%) chills/fever (30%).
Transmission: Passed by respiratory droplets in the air, shouting, talking with someone in close indoor contact for 20+ minutes.
* Data from the British Zoe Covid Symptom Study.
If you have symptoms of diarrhea WITH vomiting, this is not COVID. Instead, please wait 3 days and if symptoms stop, you have your proper diagnosis. As an aside, please don't waste a COVID test if you are sure you have Norovirus. These tests are currently in high demand and needed by many who have pre-existing health conditions for the dangers of covid. If you are PUKING, and you have GI distress besides diarrhea, and it came on suddenly, it is likely a Norovirus, which is easily spread in the winter months. Which is why I overheard two parents discussing this 24-hour flu outside of my daycare and have heard word of it running rampant in town. Its here, so what do we do?!
Now that we know it's here in the community, and it's symptoms, here are a few little known things to make dealing with it easier:
About the Virus
Be prepared, this virus, unlike COVID, can last up to 20 DAYS on furniture, countertops, or your toilet handle. Wipe everything down with an antibacterial or good old soap and water. Yes, a bar of soap is SO slippery that it indeed can cut bacteria by JUST as much if not more than antibacterials. Also make sure anyone who is sick is constantly washing their hands to keep your work load lighter.
THESE 5 TIPS FOR DEALING WITH UPCOMING ILLNESS MIGHT SEEM SILLY UP FRONT, BUT IT'S BETTER TO BE PREPARED IF YOU KNOW IT IS IMMINENT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD, AS I KNEW FOR MY POOR HUSBAND.
Cleaning up after an Attack
This virus spreads via Fecal/Oral route. If you have clean hands, and wear a mask while cleaning up any fresh…debris from your family (turn on an air cleaner if you have one 15 minutes before spending time in the room).
Preparation for illness: As my poor husband lays waiting for a possible response to our infant (and my) 24 hour bug, here are a few things to make the ‘illness’ a little easier.
1. A clean toilet. A must have. If you need to dispose of your "contents", a nice clean toilet might be much easier to lean on, cry over, or sit on. Luckily I used the guest bathroom upstairs which never gets used. So it was spotless, and that was one less thing to worry about. Remember, you touching that handle, and whatever else you touch like your toothbrush afterwards, will be covered in virus. Clean clean clean, later. Not now, now is the time for you to prepare, and try to relax and take good care of yourself.
2. A good full stomach’s contents. Puking on an empty stomach is the worst thing that could be. It hurts, a lot more than if you are freshly fed. Keep your stomach full of fluids, which are important to keep you hydrated regardless. My favorite is an electrolyte powder called Enduro-lyte that is sugar free but full of minerals and vitamins for athletes. It comes in lime, which is a fine flavor for not feeling fine.
3. Preparation. What Food to Eat? If you know you are going to be sick, and you eat, make sure it's NOT something you have a fridge full of. (HINT: You might not want to eat it again for a while.) Another consideration is one of your pantry. If you just stocked up, and you know that you being sick is something that might be imminent, choose a food you rarely eat (or one that you are trying to avoid). This might be the best way to give up dairy, chocolate or that expensive food choice that isn't doing anything for your waistline. I once avoided clams for 15 years because my loving father doted on me for my birthday and gave me a whole pound of them. In butter. When I was still in my crib. I'm sure all of us have one or more stories like this. Whatever you decide to eat, you most likely will be avoiding it for the next year or so. Prepare ahead. We don’t want you having to throw out food because the thought of it makes you sick. That sounds expensive. (and wasteful). If this DOES end up being you, throw it in the freezer so you can use it again later hopefully.
4. What to Eat the Next Day? A nice return to drinking and eating fuel for when the virus passes is important. Your body will most likely be needing fuel and a recovery drink from what you just went through. If you are thinking of fasting for a bit, think again. You most likely will be going sans-food for a day or so anyhow so a LIGHT fast is ok. A good bone broth, vegetable broth, or vegetable - fruit drink will give your body the nutrients it needs, even IF it is not ready to get back to solids.Watch how much sodium is in it and try to pick an organic one out ahead of time. We always have soups prepared for the down days. My favorite is Amy's Organic. They make a great kid friendly vegetable lentil that anyone in the family can eat and I just love their Thai (kinda spicy for this occasion however).
5. Other Preparations:
With being prepared comes planning any childcare, ensuring the pets get fed, and possibly pre-watering houseplants (if you live in a sunny house like me). Hugs to you and quick healing. Dehydration is the biggest worry of the norovirus, so stay vigilant and hydrated even if you are hiding in bed. A colored stream of urine is a big indicator (besides a soft yellow, which is normal) that you are dehydrated and is quickly fixed with a glass or two of water.
Sending you love. Hopefully your symptoms will be short in duration. Most who I have spoken to have called this a 24-hour stomach flu however it can last up to 3 days. If it lasts longer, it MIGHT not be a norovirus and could be a symptom of something else.
To those of you who have the disfortune of going thorough what my family has, HUGS and heal fast!!
Also, did you get the norovirus? What was your experience?!
Do you have any recommendations to help others going through it?