Friday, May 3, 2013

Surviving the Stomach flu

My daughter got the stomach flu two weeks ago, most likely the rotavirus. It struck without warning. We were driving in my mini-van and she told me she felt like she might throw up. I quickly moved a few things out of her way, tried to find a bag for her, and too late. She threw up three times, mostly on her lap.

She didn't show any signs previous to this. The most important thing to do to try and stop future vomiting is to move quickly to the BRAT diet. This is a diet made up of Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. It is a bland diet, that is most likely to stay in your stomach and not come back out. However, my daughter is very stubborn and insisted on eating a few cheez-its. They came right back up. Avoid all dairy. For three to five days if you can. I knew this from a previous time. It will surely get you vomiting again. Get some Pedialyte or Gatorade right away to help keep your strength.

My poor daughters flu got severe. She had diarrhea and vomiting, and was unable to hold down even a small sip of water or Pedialyte. After three days of this, I could tell she needed to get into the hospital Emergency room. She was also having fevers of 101 degrees.

She was so weak and tired, she could hardly walk. She really needed to be rehydrated quickly. She was admitted and given fluids intravenously for two days. We've heard horror stories of 4 and 5 year olds getting the flu and dying of dehydration, and we were so worried about her. I checked with her doctor first, and she agreed that she needed to go right to the ER. It was my gut feeling as well.

Andy and I got it too, however, ours was not as severe. After first vomiting, we both had just a liquid diet the first day, then moved to dry toast only on the second day. We were weak, but we were no longer vomiting.

Andy was hesitant to eat, and often turned down sips of water or crackers. By the third day, we were both getting very hungry, but we went very slowly with food. I could feel that my stomach was still very off. Andy was off school for the entire week, and so was my daughter.

Despite vigorous hand washing and hand sanitizer, I got it. I was also the one cleaning up after the kids after they were ill, so I figured it would be unavoidable. We also tried anti-nausea medications from the pharmacy, but it seemed to me if your body needs to throw up, then it will. Benadryl was also suggested to "settle" my daughters stomach. I'm not sure whether it was effective or not. It seemed it worked for a few hours, but as soon as she was ready for another dose and didn't get one, she would vomit. The doctor ended up prescribing Zofran, an anti-nausea medication, for when we left the hospital. It kept us from having to go back in, I think. She would tell me, "I feel queasy", and I would give it to her. I did this for two days, until it seemed she could eat again.

We later learned that hand sanitizer alone was not killing this bug, so kids at school were urged to actually wash their hands, instead of just sanitizing before eating. My daughter often just washes the soap down the sink after pouring it in the middle of her hand, so I have to remind her to spread the soap all around her hands before rinsing. My son can also get sick easily, because others have to handle his food for him. He also puts his hands in his mouth all day, so it is very detrimental for him to have sick peers at school.

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