I woke up on Tuesday night with severe stomach pain. Then the rumbling started. Before I knew it, I was flying into the bathroom and there I stayed most of the night, laying on the floor in the fetal position between bouts of being sick. It was official. I had a terrible case of the stomach flu.
I had every intention last week of sharing some cute Thanksgiving printables I made for you last week, but it looks like you won't get them until tomorrow. Well, better late than never. My only excuse is that I didn't eat, drink or move for three days due to illness. I know a lot of people around here are suffering from this terrible flu, so I thought I would share a few survival tactics I learned along the way last week. (Here's where I tell you I'm not a doctor. I don't even play one on TV, so I am not giving you medical advice. Talk to your doctor. Use your best judgment.)
How to Survive the Stomach Flu
Be prepared before you get sick
- Clean your bathroom, especially the toilet more than once a week. This is a task I hate, but when you are on the floor, hugging that bowl, you are definitely going to thank me for this one. Get some cleaning wipes and integrate the cleaning into your daily routine.
- Stock up on fluid replenishment products. Pedilyte, sports drinks, or make your own electrolyte solution. Whatever it is you should have a stash on hand. When the flu hits, you aren't going to want to (or even be able to) go to the store. Lay in a store of crackers and some broth while you are at it.
Survive the stomach flu
I wish I could tell you there is a magic pill you can take to make it all go away, but there isn't it. It's just you and bacteria/virus. All you can do is hold on and survive. Here are a few ideas to help you feel a bit better during your visit to hell.
- Quarantine yourself. As most of my readers are moms, I think this is the most important tip and the hardest one to actually put into action. Stomach flu is highly contagious and you really don't want the kids to get it. No mommy wants her littles to suffer, but let's get real-taking of someone else while you are fighting through this is pure misery. I'm lucky enough to have a master suite. The door was closed and no one was allowed in. No one except me used that bathroom. I honestly didn't leave the room for 3 days. My daughter would occasionally open the door and wave at me from the hall. I know this is easier said than done. You are going to have to depend on other people and ask for help. You are going to have to be okay with the fact that your daughter's homework is probably going to be a mess and she's going to forget her library book. Trust me, they will all survive without you. It might not be pretty when you come downstairs for the first time, but you will all live through it. I'm also very thankful to have friends and family who all helped out and made sure my daughter ate and got home from school and good stuff like that. Cultivate those friendships now! Make deals with other moms to help each other if one of you goes down.
- Drink. Even if it comes up again, take small sips of those fluid replenishment products you stocked up on. Dehydration is not fun.
- Sleep. Lay still. Ask someone to bring you some magazines. Pamper yourself.
- Try not to take any meds to stop your symptoms for the first 12 hours. Your body is trying to expel the virus and you don't want to stop it from doing its job. I know it's gross and miserable, but trust your body. If you start to get dehydrated, you might need to use drugs to stop things.
- If you have a headache and fever, you might want to try children's Tylenol. This worked for me. I took a low dose, and it didn't bother my stomach but it did take the edge off my pain.
- Hot water bottles are your friend. I used mine to ease my stomach cramps and muscle aches. It also just gives you a general warm and cozy feeling.
Recovering from the stomach flu
So you made it through! Now what?
- Don't go nuts with food. Eat a bland diet. Start by nibbling crackers and go from there. Most importantly, start replenishing your fluids. Drink tea by the gallons. Green tea is good because it will help support your immune system. Peppermint will ease those occasional stomach pangs.
- Once you are holding down food, start getting some yogurt (with active cultures) in you. Along with the germs, your body expelled your good bacteria. It's going to be hard to digest foods without them, so get them back as soon as you can. Don't eat flavored, sugary yogurts. I'm having good luck with plain Greek. I mix in a little honey for sweetness and because honey is touted as having great healing properties.
- Eat some grapefruit. I read somewhere grapefruit helps heal the lining of your digestive tract. I've been eating half an organic grapefruit each morning and I think I'm feeling difference. When I miss a dose of grapefruit, I seem to have more trouble.
- I don't know about you, but my mom always made us cinnamon toast when we were sick. Turns out, she was onto something. Cinnamon is a great anti-bacterial spice.
- Don't jump back into your daily routine. You are going to be weak and tired for a few days. When you feel tired, rest. I know it's frustrating, but stomach flu is notorious for relapses and you really don't want a sequel!
So those are just a few tips to help you survive the stomach flu. I'd love to hear what works for you!