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What to do When your Child gets the Stomach Flu

The other day I was woken up by the unsettling sound of one of my kids throwing up, followed by crying, a voice calling out to me, and a sleepless night. Unfortunately we’ve all been there, and most often we are caught completely off guard.

Since the sick season is upon us, I was asked to share some tips that I use to get through this time of year. As a veteran mom of 13+ years, I have picked up some tricks of the trade, if you will, when dealing with the nastiest of illnesses. The list below is divided up into 3 groups; stomach flu essentials & tips, foods, and cleaning supplies.

Stomach Flu Essentials & Tips

When someone in the home initially gets sick, I usually pull out the main “go to” items. This helps make clean up and sick life a little easier.

1. Lined Throw-up Bucket/ Bowl

I usually line a bucket or trash can with a few bags for 2 reasons. 1. To help make cleanup easier, and 2. If there is a hole in any of the bags, there is another to help ensure the mess stays in one spot and doesn’t leak anywhere else.

2. Tablecloth or Shower Curtain

I like to stock up on these when at my local Dollar Tree, because you never when the stomach bug is going to hit. I usually place these under where my sick child is spending their time. I like to place these in-between 2 fitted sheets or between the mattress and fitted sheet to help save my mattress from anything that doesn’t make it into the bucket.

3. Thermometer

Make sure you have your thermometer on hand. I like to use one that won’t bother my sick one too much, just to make sure that they aren’t running a fever. Click here for this model This a great option if you don’t have one in your home. Remember! If your child is running a fever over 102 for over 2 days take them into the ER. Always consult your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.

4. Fever Reducer

We always have children’s Tylenol and Motrin on hand, and we alternate them when treating a fever. After a visit to the ER, we were told by the nursing staff to alternate between both Tylenol and Motrin to help keep the fever down. Also to ensure they are getting the proper dosage, go by the weight of your child not the age recommendation. Remember, to always check with a medical professional when administering medication to any member of your family.

5. Trash Bags

I try and keep a few trash bags close at hand to help clean up anything that is gross and I don’t want to keep (or wash). I like to have the ‘free’ and not in a trash can because it’s much easier for me to walk around tossing things in a trash bag, tie it up, and toss it out, rather than lugging around a trash can.

6. Movies to Snuggle Up to

The best thing for your child is rest. After you have finished sanitizing your home, it’s more than OK for you to kick up your feet and just snuggle your sick child. We will sometimes binge on Netflix, but we have certain movies that we have dubbed “sick” movies. They are fun, feel good movies that help brighten spirits during these not so great times.

7. Time and Attention

This sort of piggybacks off the previous essential, but your child needs your time and attention. Once I am done cleaning up and prepping for the next sick episode, I like to just cuddle my sick baby. I think we can all remember being sick and one of the things that made us feel better is knowing our mom was there. So give your child love and attention to help get them through this not so fun time. The dishes and laundry can wait to be done another day,

Food

It’s always hard to to think about things to feed your vomiting child. You don’t want to force your child to eat, but there comes a time where your child is simply hungry and needs something in their tummy, even if they are going to throw it up later. Here’s a list of food that you can offer them that won’t make their stomachs worse.

Saltines. A serious staple of sickness. It’s easy on the tummy and dissolves pretty quickly for less work getting it into their belly.

Plain Toast. Another easy on the tummy food that has a little more substance than the previous suggestion. I normally give my child a piece of toast once they’ve kept the saltines down for a while. It helps fill their tummies up a little more, but it’s not going to upset their stomach so much that they will be puking it up soon after.

Ginger ale. I initially offer my sick child ginger ale over water because water can actually make the puking process even worse, who knew? 🤷🏻‍♀️ There is something about the ginger ale that helps reduce the acidity of the stomach and helps calm it down. Once they can hold it down for a while, then I will offer water. Also another alternative is to boil pieces of ginger in some water and make a “tea”. It will have the same effect on their tummies, but you can control the sugar content in their drink.

Chicken Broth, with a little rice. I usually buy my chicken broth in bulk because it’s useful for so many different meals, but when someone gets sick I’m even more thankful I have it on hand. We usually make a big pot of soup, whether chicken noodle or a family favorite, Avgolemeno, which is a Greek lemon chicken and rice soup. Once my child can hold their toast down, I serve mostly broth with a small amount of noodles or rice in a small bowl. They shouldn’t eat too much, and slowly is the best way to get food back into their system.

Water. Again, I only start giving my child water once they start to show signs of holding down the ginger ale and saltines. Their body needs to stay hydrated, and you can give them something like Pedialyte, or Gatorade, but majority of the time room temperature water is what my kids rather have.

What I have learned over the years, is that if you stick to “white” foods, or foods that are bland your child’s stomach will thank you. They are more often than not easier to digest and your child’s body can absorb the nutrients it needs.

Foods to avoid are any type of juice, dairy, teas, heavy or greasy foods, and sugary foods. These things will upset their fragile tummies and could make the illness and vomiting even worse.

Cleaning Supplies

1. Lysol. Make sure to spray down ALL things that your family normally touches. This includes (but is NOT limited to) door knobs, light switches, toys, cabinets, doors, stair rails, and any type of remote! This will help kill any germs and help prevent anyone else from getting sick.

2. Bleach. I like to just get out the big guns and get right to clean! I use diluted bleach water to clean anywhere my child has puked. Whether it’s the floor, the couch, the toilet, catch my drift? It helps take away that horrible smell, along with sanitizing the entire area. I add some in when washing all sheets and blankets that they use to help kill the germs on those too.

3. Rags. I always like to have rags on hand. Whether to clean up throw up, or wipe down anything (with my bleach water) that might seems “infested” with germs. I normally bring out the raggedy ones so if need be, I toss them out so I don’t have to worry about washing said gross rags.

4. Bucket. This is a separate bucket from the the “puke” one. I fill this one up with my bleach water and use it throughout the day to help clean up. It really does come in handy depending on where your child decided to toss their cookies.

5. Washcloths. This is for your sick kid. I normally use 2 at a time. I soak one with warm water and ring it out, and let my child use it, or I use it, to wipe their mouth after they vomit. The second I use for helping reduce anytime of fever, if need be. I wet it with cold water and wipe down their forehead and neck.

I hope this post was a help to you. Do you have any tips or tricks you’ve picked up when dealing with the dreaded stomach flu? Leave them in the comments below!

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