A message on my Instagram from Emma L! Her child has a vomiting bug – the first vomiting bug she’s ever had to deal with – and she recalled that I had an inventory of weird and unlikely things that are in fact invaluable when it comes to dealing with a vomiting bug in the under 10s. I recalled them for her – they were in fact on my Instagram Stories.
“I should do a post on The Spike!” I said.
“You should!” said Emma, who then took a call from the school saying that her other child was now down with the bug.
Here are my essentials for dealing with a vomiting bug.
1 Stainless steel bowls. Light, indestructible and very easy to clean, you need one bowl per child. I have gone through phases of keeping these in the kids rooms, under their beds.
2 Rubber gloves, in your size. Some people do not wear rubber gloves for washing up and so don’t have them hanging about. If this is you, get some.
3 Bicarbonate of soda. This is very good for sprinkling over puke-stains on fabric – it soaks up the smell and can limit the damage. Alas vomit is so toxic that it will start to errode fibres before you can get the lid off the tub. Still, it will help with the smell.
4 A plastic dough cutter or scraper. For the efficient scraping of any large pieces of matter off carpets, clothes or sheets.
5 A stack of old towels. Everyone has these, just know where they are.
6 Rehydration sachets, if your kids will consider them. Full-fat Coke if not.
Anti-bacterial hand gel will not kill norovirus (though not all vomiting bugs are noro). To be on the safe side, during the course of the illness keep in your kitchen a plastic tub filled to a shallow point with a weak bleach solution (just a capful in about 1 litre of water). Only bleach will kill noro. Dip your hands before and after cooking or going anywhere near any vomit. If there is a moment in-between your nursing duties and you can’t settle to anything else, wipe down all your doorhandles with the bleach.
Even if you don’t use bleach, your hands will be fucked. Vaseline hand cream is absolutely the best. Once everyone is better you can add a generous blob of hydrocortisone cream to normal handcream, rub in and leave (best to do this last thing at night). Only do this once, mind.
Keep in mind something really great or fun you are going to do when everyone is better and then do it. Focus on it. Looking after sick children is incredibly tough both mentally and physically. The two times after my children were both really ill, (Sam once screamed all night with earache – and that time Giles was away and we all got noro at the same time), I went straight to Topshop and got a new ear piercing. It felt great.