i should be mopping the floor: Tips & Tricks to Avoid the Stomach Bug {#StomachBug}

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tips & Tricks to Avoid the Stomach Bug {#StomachBug}



The post below is from "the vault"...with a few changes made to bring it current. The original post can be found here

***None of these tricks has been evaluated by any medical professional {nor am I a medical professional}. This is just what has worked for me {and a few others as you may have noticed in those comments below}. If these things don't work for you, I really do apologize. Not everyone's systems are exactly the same. What works for many may not always work for everyone. ***


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Just to be up front: this little trick is a PREVENTATIVE. Once you actually have a stomach bug in your system, it will not work. You will probably be throwing up grape juice...and could ruin some carpet! ; )

I first heard about this from a coach who worked at my husband's high school. He carried grape juice with him all the time. And he was never sick and always attributed his stellar immune system to the good people at Welch's. About three years ago, I noticed a friends' Facebook status announcing that her family caught the dreaded tummy bug. A friend of hers wrote in the comments suggesting preventing it the next time with grape juice. So, then, I started researching...and came across Granny Sue's Blog who mentions the same method for prevention of this nasty creature. Apparently, this is a pretty popular preventative!

I hate cleaning up/smelling/hearing/thinking about throw up more than anyone. I seriously have panic attacks when someone pukes...just can't handle it. My friends giggle about my phobia...but, yeah...it's bad. So when we were all struck down by one of those bugs in 2009, I resolved from then and there, never again! We actually drink grape juice every day. Each kid has a glass with his breakfast. AND, when I hear the bug is going around, we bump it up to a couple of servings a day. I do have one child who isn't as into grape juice as the rest of us...and he, inevitably will catch the bug every now and then. Which means the rest of us go on full alert...three servings of grape juice a day and the adults add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to theirs. It's the acidity in the juice that's supposed to keep the bug from settling in your digestive tract. I'm no GI, but a good friend of mine is married to one and I know she does this as a preventative, too...so it can't be all malarkey, right? 

One BIG rule is that it MUST be 100% grape juice...and y'all....just buy Welch's to be sure. Lately, Welch's has been coming out with all sorts of new grape juices...avoid them if you can. No light or white, no "Essentials", no grape juice cocktail....just plain old 100%. I even avoid the ones with calcium. There are so many varieties...look very carefully when shopping for grape juice.

If you're just using it as a preventative when you've been exposed to the bug, try 3 glasses a day. If you want to add a bit of apple cider vinegar (no more than 1 tsp.) to it, it's one more measure to take. If you want to add it to your diet regularly (again, I'm not a doctor, this is just from my own experience), just a glass with breakfast is a good way to do it (I think 3 glasses of this every day all the time might hurt your stomach in other ways...LOL).

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Here we are, about nine months later and I still {somewhat} stick to the grape juice trick when someone is ill. Now that we've done a complete 180 with our diets and such, we don't always do the daily thing with the juice because of the high sugar content. I had a lot of readers ask if I seriously give my kids three servings a day year round. I totally didn't intend to imply that and have never done that. My kids have one eight-ounce cup of grape juice with their breakfast and that's it. The only time I bump up the servings is if someone we have knowingly come into contact with has the bug. And, as I mentioned above, I bump it up to three eight-ounce servings for a couple of days. 

After thinking on this post a while longer {you know nine months or so}...there are a few more things I'd like to add that I've learned through years of research about preventing it {I'm OCD about this...and am now well aware that I probably have emetophobia}. But, yes, I research this. And I have no doubt that that makes me a total loo-loo.

A few other precautions I take:
  • Of course, there's the obvious....wash hands and don't touch your mouth and eyes. And clean your house often {yep, even mopping the floor...lol}.
  • Using cleaners that work after they're applied {as in, they keep killing germs for days later} is a biggie for me. The incubation period of viruses can vary and even if nobody's puking, we may very well have a carrier in our home {and not even know it...you don't have to have symptoms to be a carrier}. Every time I clean, I use a disinfecting cleaner that has a continuous killing factor {that sounds slightly brutal}. There are so many cleaners that have NO disinfecting qualities to them {a lot of floor cleaners and such}...I avoid these like the plague. Every time I clean, I want to do it not only for the form factor of making my home look nice, but for the functional factor as well {functional=germ killing}. I'm not a seller of these products or getting commission on this, but I personally like the Shaklee Basic G Cleaner {this stuff even trumps bleach in my book}. This is the Shaklee person I use to purchase from: click here.
  • LAUNDRY: it's like a four-letter word, I tell ya. But, laundry is a BIGGIE in preventing any type of virus from spreading. Cleaning sheets, bedding and towels is a weekly {if not daily} occurrence to prevent any illness. AND, it's not about the laundry detergent...that is not the factor that kills the germs. It's the TEMPERATURE. I wash all bedding and towels in HOT. The other part of this is to use an actual dryer which also helps kill germs in fabric {I know a lot of friends who no longer use their dryers and have switched to clotheslines for green/budget factors...I have to say, as non-PC as it may be, you'll have to pry the dryer from my cold-dead hands before I give that luxury up. That's a non-negotiable for me}. It must also be used on the HIGH setting to have the germ-killing properties. I use all white towels in our house and also add bleach to them when I wash them. 
  • Social & Other Germy Situations: Okay, here's where I become a total weirdo. I use a hand-sanitizer {although not Purell since it doesn't eliminate the Norovirus germs} after everything: pumping gas, using an ATM, exchanging money, touching door handles, shaking hands {I have to thoroughly wash after I go to church...it's crazy} and many other situations. In heavy stomach-bug seasons {read: NOW}, I don't eat at parties or many social functions {which is actually not a big deal to me since most party food isn't on my diet}. But the chip/dip factor makes me squeamish. If a person who has the stomach bug touches a chip, then dips that chip into a community bowl of guacamole, the virus can transfer from hand to chip to dip...just waiting for others to "dig in". I am also very mindful of what other people touch...especially if I know they have a sick kid at home {that they've been "handling" no doubt...I'm awful, I know}. But if they touch a pile of paper plates to pull one out...I avoid those. If they're playing a piano...I'm certainly not the next in line to tickle the ivories {not that I ever would be since I don't really play...but, you get the drift}. I just do everything in my power to not be too touchy in the "bug season".
  • The Grocery Store {a mine field during germ season}: This goes without saying, but wipe down your cart first before handling it a lot. Wash ALL produce before consuming {you don't know who touched that apple and what they had}. I also prefer to grab packages of food from the back of the shelf...the ones that haven't been handled or touched much. Same goes for health and beauty products...reach for the ones in the back. I like to clean my hands after touching all the handles on the doors in the cold and freezer sections. Try not to thumb through the reading material at checkout {everyone and their kid has touched those magazines since they read through them while that line was long}. Nowadays, with smart phones, it's way easier to entertain yourself in a line without having to touch stuff that is around you. I do try to not overly freak out about the checkers and baggers handling everything. It's their jobs...but, it still makes me a bit uneasy.
Now, do you think I'm a complete NUT? It's okay...I am. But, after reading through all of the comments on the previous post about this, I realize I am not alone in my nuttiness. 


The above post has also garnered a lot of attention from emetophobes, moms, nervous-nellies and more. I feel like I have an entire new group of friends who have my back when it comes to the pukies {well, maybe not my actual back, they'd be like me...running for the hills if there were a puker nearby}. But, it's definitely struck a chord. While, there have been a couple of negative comments and finger-shakers, the majority of the {currently 142} comments have been helpful or relatable. 

A lot of people already do the apple-cider vinegar thing as I mentioned in the above post. Some also suggested Grape Seed Extract. These are just a few of the comments readers left. I tried to pull out the ones that have some tips or other info that I thought may be helpful:

READER TIPS FROM THE PREVIOUS POST:
  • Jennifer from Jennifer Cooks said: "I can vouch for this one! I learned this one from Kristi a year or so ago and we've been using it ever since...and it really works!"
  • Becca from Crumbs and Chaos said: "...We already use apple cider vinegar when needed, I'm sure my kids would much rather prefer Welch's!"
  • Brandi from Don't Disturb this Groove said: ". . .My husband drinks apple cider vinegar, but I'm sure he'd prefer the taste of grape juice..."
  • Cristi from Will Blog for Chocolate said: "What's even better than Welch's is if you are able to can your own! I have borrowed a steam juicer from friends and canned my own grape juice. Wow! That is delicious and powerful stuff. VERY high in anti-oxidants. (btw, my husband is vomit-free since 1980!)"
  • Amy Skinner said: "We always seem to surpass the stomach flu, and I wonder why when it goes through our neighborhood, but now I know! I have been canning my own grape juice since i was married 18 years ago, We drink it almost every Sunday. We don't get a lot other illness either. hmmmm interesting. We like to call grape juice in our family 'Liquid Gold' :)"
  • Sarafina said: "Do not touch your mouth. You must have infected yourself again and again with the same virus. Stomach flu can reinfect you even though you had it already. Bleach everything!!!! Do not touch your face without fully washed hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. Only certain sanitzers can help. Google germ star Noro.".....I love Sarafina, there's a sisterhood of emetophobia with her....later she came back to add to another commenter: " Sadly Purell has glycerin which protects the stomach flu cell and won't kill it. Look for over 65% alcohol or wet wipes. The ingredient that can actually kill the Noro or Roto virus is Benzalkonium Chloride! The generic wet wipes have a higher % I get those. Or find pumps with that ingredient. I know how you all feel! All my love!!"
  • Unknown said: "It absolutely IS possible to have it several times in succession. Actually, it is only ONE attack of the virus but you keep reinfecting yourself over and over just as it's starting to clear up. Kids are especially bad for this because they just don't remember to wash their hands or use wipies at school and they share drinks, food, etc without thinking of the consequences. What we call the "stomach flu" or "stomach bug" is generally Norovirus - an especially virulent, active, easily spread nasty bug, also known as "cruise ship revenge" because of its common attacks in crowded living conditions like cruise ships, nursing homes, etc. The best prevention is cleanliness, but children just aren't reliable in that department, especially once they've started school and are mingling with a few hundred other kids some of who are from homes with questionable sanitation. It only takes one kid to infect an entire school. Once your family home is invaded by this nasty little bug, bleach, bleach, bleach......everything the kids wear, sleep in, touch (faucets, countertops, table tops, TOYS), sit on (toilets, kitchen chairs, etc.). If you don't use a gallon of bleach every day when you have Noro in your home, then you aren't cleaning enough.
  • Quanz Family said: "try grapeseed extract! no juice for me either (or my kids) too much sugar and calories. A teaching friend told me years ago that was her secret weapon on staying healthy while working at a school with little kids. It comes in a pill form, MUCH healthier than juice!"
  • ktna182 said: "...You may also want to look into adding a few drops of Grapefruit seed extract in the grape juice. GSE is a natural antibiotic and kills all germs. When my kids have been exposed, I give them four drops twice a day, and it seems to really help! It is VERY bitter, but the grape juice masks the taste really well!!!"
  • dragonflylday from Producing the Fruits of the Spirit said: "my mom used this and didn't get sick with even so much as a cold for 5 years. She always had one 8oz of grape juice with 2 TBS of apple cider vinegar. It works. She baby sat my kids when they were sick. It also cures strep throat if sipped all day."
  • Trista {who is not a fan of the grape juice idea} said: "...Try teaching your children to be vigilant about washing their hands, teach them to keep their fingers out of their mouth, nose and eyes. Stay out of indoor play areas in peak months, always wipe down store carts. Feed them a diet high in protein and fresh fruits and vegetables and cut out refined sugars, simple grains, processed foods. Make sure they spend plenty if time outside exercising. Build a better immune system from the inside out."
  • llly said: " I get how this could work. It sort of follows the same line of logic as cranberry juice preventing bladder infections. Acid and bacteria don't mix very well, and vitamin C boosts the system. But I would be very wary of drinking grape juice every day. It's one thing for kids, who are growing like mad and can handle the calories and sugars. It's another thing for adults. Grape juice is very high in calories and sugar. You're going to be diabetic and have no stomach lining if you drink this much grape juice this often. I drank grape juice every day for a while, and I developed an ulcer from it. It's dangerous stuff."
  • Courtney R. Beard said: " I keep myself and kids on probiotics. I am adamant about hand washing and am nearly mercenary when it comes to disinfecting my bathroom surfaces."
  • Jaime said: "Some of my friends use red wine (adults only) when they get the gurgles down below. They say since they've started doing that they haven't had any full blown diarrhea/vomit episodes. There may be a little diarrhea as the body cleans out the bugs, but they haven't done the porcelain evacuation in a long, long time. Just a thought for us grown-ups.
  • Patrick and Tiffany from Sweet T Studios said: "I think red wine works too (for us adults!) My husband had it 2 wks ago, and I had a glass every night, and never came down with it."
  • yoga muse said: "I would say go one step farther and only use ORGANIC grape juice. Grapes are one of the "dirty dozen" in conventional produce and are very high in pesticides. BTW another old wives' tale I always use when traveling abroad is to drink a glass of red wine every evening to prevent sickness. Of course wouldn't work for the kids... unless you happen to be in France, then all bets are off!!"
  • The Carlson Chronicles said: "... I use Apple Cider vinegar for myself, but my husband and kids can't stand the smell (or taste) of it. I know they would prefer the juice!..."
  • Annie Quarantillo said: "Look up Tummy Tuneup probiotics, they claim to stop the bug in its tracks!! i bought them also as a backup....can't hurt, right?"
If you're interested, here's a couple of other sites that deal with the stomach bug and all its loveliness:

Again, let me reiterate. None of these tricks have been evaluated by any medical professional {nor am I a medical professional}. This is just what has worked for me {and a few others as you may have noticed in these comments}. If these things don't work for you, I really do apologize. Not everyone's systems are exactly the same. What works for many may not always work for everyone. 

Stay well, friends!


{i linky-party here}

25 comments:

  1. Interesting stuff - except for the extreme bleaching and sanitizing which actually inhibits our immune systems from developing. We need a little germs in our life for our bodies to learn to fight back. This has been shown to be a related factor in developing asthma (too clean) and babies who are bathed every day have increased illnesses...just sayin' :).

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  2. Kristi....I am soooo thankful I have found someone who thinks just like me! I will gladly become a hermit in the winter time just to avoid ANY contact with anyone who may be carrying a bug or who has just had it. At first my husband thought I was crazy, but now he will go along with whatever I say because he knows how much anxiety the flu brings me. None of my friends can relate, and it is nice to know that there are "normal" mommas out there'd dealing with an "un-normal" fear of the flu!!!! I was so fearful of my son starting pre-school...not because of him being away from me, but because of the germs he was going to be exposed to!!!! How sad is that??!!! I loved this post! Thank you for sharing....

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  3. My family has been drinking dill pickle juice for several generations and it works every time! Even when you are experiencing the first effects of the bug, sipping on dill pickle juice through a straw (slows down the amount that you drink). The vinegar in the pickle juice will help to kill of the bug and it certainly tastes better than straight apple cider vinegar. The grape juice sounds like a great alternative, but for those of you that have diabetics in your family, give the dill pickle juice a try. You will not be sorry.

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  4. Great post, Kristi! So glad to know that my husband and I aren't the only ones who wash up, sanitize and flat out avoid "touchy" situations! We also don't allow shoes in the house. I hate to think what I may have walked through today, especially if my journey took me near a public restroom. (we like to sit on our floors occasionally)

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  5. Interesting....has me wondering for the future when Adam and I plan on having a family. We have been lucky to only have the bug once since we've been married, and I think that may be because we don't have children bringing home so many mystery germs from the other kids! I am certainly Pinning this article and even emailing to my mother-in-law for her to enjoy.

    I have to say, I have come across your blog on multiple occasions since you catch my eye in the minimal 100 x 100 pixel space to influence linky party followers! Today I decided to finally follow you! I'm excited to know now I won't miss a post!

    Thank you for sharing your projects and even posts like this that we can ALL use and relate to!
    ~Cathy~

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  6. I am reading this in disbelief! I am close to tears! I randomly found your site through pinterest: I thought I was the only person with this horrible anxiety about vomiting/stomach flu. I've been to therapists for years, and while it has helped, I still am terrified at the thought of the stomach flu. I never knew what was wrong with me, and now i discover that not only is there a name for my condition, but there are people who share it! This article has changed my life! And provides double relief: ways to prevent the dreaded stomach flu and that there are people out there who understand !
    Thank you, thank you, thank you

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  7. I am a teacher and I take Culturelle ANYTIME a student is sick from my class. It puts the pro-biotics back in your system and I think (again, teacher not doctor) prevent the stomach bug. Is a little pricey but worth being sick. Found at the pharmacy, Target, etc.

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    1. worth NOT being sick. Teachers make mistakes too ;)

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  8. Does this work if you've been exposed? My daughter has been up since 2:30 and I had some grape juice just in case... Hoping its not too late for me!!!!

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  9. I just have to say (like many others) that I thought I was alone in my crazy extreme phobia of vomiting/flu. I've gotten much better these past few years, but I still go into panic mode if I hear so much as an urp. How odd! It's one thing that makes me nervous about becoming a parent someday - how can I take care of my sick child and hide at the same time? ;) I like the apple cider vinegar idea the best, because it has probiotics. Mixed with some honey and a cup of hot water, and it tastes like hot apple cider! Just make sure it's organic "with the mother!"

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  10. I, too, have NEVER heard anyone else have the same phobia as me! Wow, had no idea, thank you for the tips, too :-)

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  11. I am so with you on this phobia ... last night my hubby and my daughter both went in different directions to bathrooms ... I went for my purse for Xanax! After about 20 minutes I could breath and wasn't shaking quite as bad and was able to go spray my whole house (blankets, window treatments,furniture, appliances, doors, walls ... you get the idea) with 1 part alcohol 3 parts vinegar ( a great glass cleaner but being they are both great disinfectants I thought "hmmm what can it hurt") I will be going to get grape juice today! I have been taking grape seed extract for the last few fays anyway for an ulser so maybe since I haven't been drinking the juice that will help till i get to the store.

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  12. Go buy some Hibiclens at the pharmacy. Wash your hands every morning with it. It kills cold and flue bug for 6 hours. It binds to the skin and protects you. It is the stuff surgeons scrub with and the stuff they prep you with before surgery.

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  13. So glad I'm not the only one with this phobia. Sadly, it has passed on to my daughter who contracted the stomach bug in 2011 and had a complete panic attack even after she was better. She lost 6lbs, and for a 9 year old already on the lower end of the weight scale that's a lot. She saw a therapist just to ease with her anxiety. She'd wash her hands over 50 times a day and not eat very much for fear she'd be sick. Thankfully we are passed that now and she is much better. We will begin the grape juice plan for preventative measures (mine with apple cider vinegar-with the mother). Thank you

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  14. Don't worry, Love...you aren't the only OCD emetophobic on earth! Welcome to the club! ;)

    After seeing my poor son throwing up every 15 minutes for two days and being hospitalized (@ the age of two) is what did it for me...and he is 17 now!

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  15. Have you seen this?

    http://www.stopthestomachflu.com/

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  16. I thought I was the only "odd duck" of a mom/girl who is terrified of the stomach bug! If my kid so much as burps funny, I'm on the other side of the room asking how his tummy is feeling! Everyone always thinks I'm crazy. Which is weird to ME... how you can remain calm with it... thanks for the info! We've been hit with so much already this year, I don't want a nasty stomach bug here too!

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  17. What sanitizer will actually work?? I started the grape juice last week in hopes to avoid this new stomach issue that is going around the us...

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  18. I came across your original post (and this one) on Pinterest and was happy to learn I am not the only person terrified of throwing-up! Even the thought of it gives me a panic attack! Also funny how some of your precautions are things I do without even thinking about it and consider normal. OCD, germ-a-phobes of the world, unite! Hahaha! Thanks for sharing...

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  19. Yes!! Give me a cold any day, but not the stomach things. YUCK!! Thank you for this article. I haven't heard this before. We will be trying it. Since my grandson started preshool he has had at least one or two bouts with stomach viruses. But this year, second grade, he hasn't had any, knock on wood, he seems to be growing out of them or I guess his immune system is maturing. He also has asthma with every little cold and that is much better also. But I am still going to start this new immune booster.
    Thanks, MaryLynn

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  20. We may have been separated at birth. LOL Seriously!

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  21. I absolutely adore finding "freaks like me" because I don't have to explain the panic-fest I spring into. Re-pinned on Pinterest and glad I did! Great tips!!

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  22. I absolutely adore finding "freaks like me" because I don't have to explain the panic-fest I spring into. Re-pinned on Pinterest and glad I did! Great tips!!

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  23. I'm so relieved to see that I'm not the only one! I seriously start to shake all over when anyone in our family throws up. Last year after it went through each family member, I was able to ward off getting the bug for 5 days (drinking acv all day, taking extra HCl, and my morning iodine drops), but then I got hit. I turn to activated charcoal as soon as I get the gurgles and nausea. I take 8 initially, then add 2-4 caps every 15-20 minutes till I feel better. I don't drink straight water, but keep sipping acv in water. It has prevented me from throwing up, at least. Even if you end up throwing up, it'll prevent the virus to go on and on, just keep taking it till the nausea is gone! I give it to any of my children (even 2yr old) if they've thrown up (4 caps emptied and mixed in raw honey--given on a spoon), and it shortens or stops the vomiting. I hope that helps!

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  24. Girl these tips are all SOO amazing. I really love all the different opinions shared here too. Thank you for sharing. One off topic question I have is: WHERE In the Page, is your Sharing Options?!??

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