Stomach Bug Caregiver Survival Tips

The stomach bug stinks.  Literally and figuratively, the stomach bug stinks.  It stinks for those who have to suffer the symptoms.  It stinks for those who have to clean up after the victims.  It stinks up the whole house with the smells of sickness.

My family has been battling a stomach bug over the weekend and it hasn’t been pleasant (Is it ever?).  I think everyone has their own tips and tricks for dealing with this nastiness but I’m going to go ahead and share mine.  If you have a great tip that I miss sharing here, please share it in the comments!

Of course, the best survival tip is avoidance.  I know none of us walks around with a bug catcher jar hoping to capture a stomach bug.  Hopefully, we all know the basics of always washing our hands and food safety.

The theory is that this round was food poisoning from a local pizza buffet since I managed to remain symptom free and didn’t eat with the family that day.  Another tip on avoiding the stomach flu is to drink grape juice.  I am not sure if it works but I do know that I start sending grape juice in lunches during the winter flu season and can’t tell you the last time we actually had a stomach virus of such a virulent nature around here.


Here are my tips for overcoming the stench and sordidness that marks caring for victims of  the stomach flu:

  • Peppermint gum and mints help with the queasiness.  Oh no, do not give these things to the person getting sick.  These are for you!  I hope I’m not the only one who has trouble not getting sick myself while cleaning up after a sick person.

  • Line the “bowl” or “bucket” with a few paper towels and a plastic grocery sack.  Makes clean up a bit easier if the person makes it there.

  • Do the icky laundry immediately.  Trust me.  You do not want to wait on that.  Spray the laundry basket with Lysol once you’ve emptied it into the washer.

  • Spray the mattresses down with Lysol as well.  It helps with the smell and the germs.

  • If your dishwasher has a sanitize cycle, now is the time to use it.

  • Lysol and Clorox Wipes are your friends.  So is soap.  And hot water.  Lots of soap and hot water.  Wash your hands after you touch anything the sick person has touched.  Bleach is great as well (just watch your clothes!).  A steam mop comes in the handy for the floors.  Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to the water gives a clean scent.

  • It’s okay if you family refuses to follow the BRAT diet.  Sometimes those things simply sound disgusting to someone recovering from the stomach flu.  Let them eat or drink small amounts of whatever they think they can keep in their stomach even if they sound disgusting to you.

  • Take care of yourself, eat if you are hungry but be mindful that you could succumb to the sickness as well and think about what you are choosing to eat so you don’t inadvertently ruin a favorite food.  Also, be sensitive to the sick and don’t cook yourself something with a strong odor.  Avoid the temptation to stay up late and get extra things done.  Sleep is an important factor in your body’s immunity.

  • Don’t make a huge dinner if nobody is hungry.  Buy some small protein filled snacks for yourself and save your energy for other tasks like sanitizing the entire house.

  • If the weather is nice enough, open up the windows and air the house out a bit.  If it is the middle of winter, light some candles (just make sure the smell isn’t going to make a person get sick again).

  • If I have a chance to get out to the store, I stock up on the following for the sick:  Popsicles, yogurt (although everything I read says to avoid dairy, it was the only thing G kept down), ginger ale and Sierra Mist, pretzels (crackers would be good as well), and high water content fruits and vegetables (read watermelon and cucumbers).  I buy the following for myself:  Kind bars, Cereal, Peanut Butter Protein Balls, etc.  Things that will tide me over without having to cook a meal solely for myself.

Thankfully, we squished the stomach bug around here.  I admit to being a bit on edge when G asked for a hot dog for lunch yesterday.  Seriously?   He was fine though and we proclaimed officially better.

How do you cope when your entire family is sick with the stomach flu?


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3 thoughts on “Stomach Bug Caregiver Survival Tips

    1. Jean Post author

      Thanks! I actually didn’t quite make it without the bug biting me but we are now officially all on the mend.

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