Vomit: A survival guide
After a generous friend left behind norovirus after a short stay, Vanessa Beddoe-Sandström offers some helpful tips to help you get through a family vomit-bug.
A Survival Guide to Vomit
It was an absolute nightmare. One kid would vomit without warning, then the next, followed by the baby, then me while cleaning it all up. My husband was following us all with a mop and bucket, while grimly clenching his jaw to stave off the next wave of nausea. What we really needed was to cover the house in plastic ET style, but we lacked even the most basic materials. Everything copped it: the sofa, bedding, rugs and walls.
The problem with kids and tummy-bugs is that the chances are you’re going to get it, and even if you don’t, you’ve still got your work cut out for you. Big time. You need to act fast and get everything in place to help you get through the next few days. Here are some things that I learned during last week’s vomit-fest.
At the first sign of a vomit-bug:
1. Gather towels
Make sure every towel, large or small, is washed and ready for action. You are going to need every single one of them. Several times.
2. Get shopping
Put a load of towels on, and while they’re washing, get to the supermarket as soon as you possibly can (or better still, get a friend or relative to go for you and leave the groceries at the front door) and purchase the following:
• At least one large bag of Popsicles, preferably two. Hydration is the key here; you need to maximize the chances that the kids will get some liquids into them. Don’t go for the natural stuff without a stick, it just ends up melting everywhere and makes kids moan about cold hands. And if you’re sick too the last thing you’ll want to do is have to get up again to get paper towels.
• Laundry detergents if you’re running low. Kids will vomit anywhere with little or no warning, so you’re going to have to try and keep on top of the stink (gross, but true).
• White bread for the kids. I usually go for the multigrain healthy range, but if the kids aren’t eating sometimes you can tempt them with some plain buttered toast (and the novelty of white bread!). And you’re too knackered to do anything more complicated than spread a bit of peanut butter.
• Fruit purees for younger toddlers/infants. Once they start eating again try something gentle on the stomach like stewed pears. Normally I make my own baby food, but don’t forget you’re probably going to be looking at the bottom of a bucket for a day or two, so you need all the help you can get. Make it easy on yourself!
• Toddler yogurt pots. Great for grown ups and kids alike to test out whether you can start on solids again. Not so bad coming up either, if your weren’t quite ready…
3. Be prepared
Devote one laundry basket to vomit. Put it in the bathroom so you can fling in any items that have been in the vomit firing line so you don’t end up with a reeking pile in the corner.
Cover the couch with old sheets/towels if you have any. It may save a load.
Get every child-friendly DVD prepped and ready to go. You’re going to need them.
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