Vomit. Puke. Barf. Upchuck. Hurl. Ralph. Spew. Throw up. Yack.
It doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s one of the nastiest parts of parenting. If you’re reading this, you have probably dealt with one of your kids having the stomach bug.
It’s awful. It’s gross. One could also say it’s vile, filthy and foul. I personally like to use the adjectives “revolting” and “repulsive.”
I am not a fan of upchuck, but who is? Give me a fever or strep throat any day and I can deal with that. Give me a spewing child and I find myself gagging and crying in a blanket of panic. I wasn’t made for vomit.
In reality, a doomsday pukefest happens when you’re least expecting it. It’s usually in the middle of the night while you’re dreaming of Chris Pine and drooling on your pillow when suddenly a crying child appears next to your bed. Or if you’re really lucky it happens in the car and you get a 5-second warning, “Mommy, my stomach hurts. I think I’m going to… <BAAAAAAAAARF>.” (After a car barfing episode I have been known to roll down all of the windows and drive with my head out of the car like a Golden Retriever to avoid the smell.)
Since I can’t avoid the stomach bug unless I keep my kids in a bubble (which I have been often inclined to do), I have learned how to best prepare. While it won’t keep the kids from getting sick, I suppose doomsday preparation makes being sick a tad more tolerable.
- Keep extra Pedialyte, Gatorade and/or Sprite on hand for unexpected stomach bugs. You can even make Pedialyte popsicles to help your little ones rehydrate.
- Stock up on Ramen noodles, soup, bread, and crackers. I keep these items on hand in our pantry for this very reason.
- Designate “barf buckets” for children that may not be able to make it to the bathroom. We personally use bright orange Home Depot buckets. These buckets are cheap and we can hose them out with bleach. Keep them in an accessible place for quick retrieval.
- Keep old bath towels handy for emergencies like this. From previous experience, it is easier to lay down old towels around a crib/bed/sofa and wash towels rather than cleaning vomit chunks out of the carpet.
- Use Lysol spray. It might be a mental thing for me, but I find great pleasure in spraying Lysol on absolutely every hard surface in our house when someone is sick. I may have even sprayed it on the sick child. (I said, “may have,” so don’t panic.) Don’t forget to disinfect things like TV remotes, Ipads, phones, door knobs, light switches, fridge handles, and faucets.
- Put plastic grocery bags or zip lock bags in your car for unexpected barfing episodes. I also keep old towels in the back of my car as well as a change of clothes.
- Know where your carpet cleaner is. Just in case you don’t use old towels (tip #4) or if your kids’ vomit reach goes beyond the towels on the floor.
- Pump probiotics. Unfortunately, diarrhea often follows the pukes, so when your little one can hold down liquids, it’s probably safe to give them probiotics. Obviously, read the instructions for your probiotic or talk to your family doctor first.
- Designate a “sick bathroom” for all of the sick family members to use. The other well members of the family should use the “not sick (yet) bathroom.” When my husband got the stomach bug last year, I not only used a separate bathroom, but I slept in another room. It may seem dramatic, but it worked.
- Have a good priest on hand in case your child needs an exorcism. (Kidding of course!)
Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with the stomach bug any time soon, but if you do, I hope it’s quick and relatively pain-free. More importantly, I hope you’re able to keep it contained to one member of your family.
Good luck, mamas! You’ve got this.