Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stomach Virus Protocol

Some of you will stop reading as soon as you see the title.  I get it.  We've had our fair share of this nasty bug.  But since we're approaching stomach flu season, I thought I'd post these tips to help you if you find yourself dealing with it, too.

My family seems to be prone to the throw-up-bugs, otherwise most commonly referred to as the rotavirus or norovirus.  I have had MANY a late night call into our phone nurse to determine my next course of action.  I've made many mistakes and regretted it, especially those at the beach with my entire extended family.  I do not have a great memory, but I can take good notes and I am very thankful for our pediatrician and researchers like this one who are dedicated to studying this nasty pest.  I am NOT a nurse or a medical professional, so please verify this information with your own physician before proceeding.

The first item of prevention is frequent hand washing. Contagions for these viruses are believed to be transmitted through vomit and stool. The virus is so contagious because of its potency (according to this site the norovirus has over 10 million particles per gram, yet it only takes 30 particles to make you sick). Familiarize yourself with proper handwashing techniques. My family sings the "ABC" song all the way through and we dry our hands well afterwards. If someone is sick, we temporarily replace hand towels with paper towels to reduce the transmission. And remember, always wash after using the potty, before eating and when returning home. (If you are out and don't have access to a sink, hand sanitizer is effective against one strain of the virus, but not the other. It's worth using, but hand wash when you get home!)

If someone in your family vomits, CLOSE YOUR MOUTH. The virus is not technically airborne, like the common cold would be, but when someone vomits, all those tiny particles are floating in the air before they land on surfaces. So close your mouth until you can get out of that room then later clean well with an anti-viral disinfectant that works on both the norovirus and the rotovirus. We use Lysol Disinfectant Spray. And use care when transferring bed linens to the wash. Everything it touches becomes infected.

Another prevention item my family has added is to have everyone who is well drink one serving of RED grape juice three times daily. There isn't strong scientific evidence to support this theory, but some believe the juice creates and acidic environment in the gut that makes it difficult for the virus to survive, which is why three servings throughout the day is important. Others believe it's because this type of juice has anti-viral properties. Whatever the reason, its worth trying in my book.
And now for the actual protocol:
Once someone vomits, wait 30-40 minutes after vomiting to give food, drinks or medicine, allowing the tummy to rest. Sleep is best at this point, but if he/she is awake give one tablespoon of clear liquids every 5 mins for the first 4 hours. This step will replenish electrolytes and prevent dehydration. Choose one clear liquid and stick with it. Clear liquids include:
(At any point in this process, if the patient vomits, you must start over. It stinks, I know, but it is worth it in the long run!)
Next you will move to TWO tablespoons of clear liquids every 5 mins for the next 4 hours.  You can try Pedialyte popsicles or another low-sugar popsicles at this point.
If 8 hours has passed with no vomiting, the patient may have dry, starchy, bland, salty foods. Ideas include:
After 3-4 more hours if there has been no vomiting, add in the B.R.A.T. foods (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) for 24 hours until the diarrhea subsides. This means you must wait until the sick person has a normal bowel movement to determine if he/she is over the virus. Trust me when I say it is not worth chancing this! B.R.A.T. diet items include:
  • Bananas
  • White rice
  • Cream of Rice (prepared with water)
  • Natural applesauce, no sugar added
  • White bread toast
  • White potatoes with no dairy and no peel
  • White pasta (may cook in chicken stock)
  • Ginger snaps
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Tiny amounts of protein
  • Popsicles
  • Jell-o
  • Jell-o Water (mix according to directions, then add 3 extra cups of water)
  • Diluted Gingerale or Gatorade
  • Rice milk in small amounts
  • No dairy
  • Add Culterelle to drinks, a probiotic supplement
The patient is contagious until there has been no fever, vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours. At this point you will be washing hands like it's your job, swearing never to have this again! And for your sake, I hope you don't! Please comment if you have any tips to add to this. It may really help someone one day. I'll update this post as new information comes my way.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stinky Shoes?

If you like to exercise or love those who do, it's highly likely somebody's dropped a pair of stinky shoes in your house.  Next time try this tip:

Stuff the shoes with dry newspaper until the next use. The paper will absorb the moisture and some of the odor.

This is also a great packing your favorite clothes and your luggage don't smell like stinky socks.

And don't forget newspaper is great for gardening, too.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Banana Dog Sandwiches

Do you often have leftover hot dog buns from your last cookout?  Rather than tossing them, try this tip:

Smear a dollop of protein-rich peanut butter in each hot dog bun, layer in a banana, drizzle a bit of honey over them and top with peanuts and/or granola.  

Banana dogs are a nutritious breakfast or lunch sandwich that will make any kid smile.  My kids were thrilled over theirs!

(These can also be made with sandwich bread, but it's a bit more messy that way.)