Healthy living · Life with Kids · What we've learned

Avoiding the Dreaded Tummy Bug…


As I write this, three of my four children are recovering from the stomach virus. I have a phobia of to stomach virus. Well, not really a phobia. A phobia, by definition, is an irrational fear. My fear is completely rational and grounded in experience – gruesome, horrific experience. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that for years my family had a tradition of ringing in the New Year with a tummy bug. Several, I came to realize how entire families used to die during influenza outbreaks. Daddy out of town, four small children with the stomach virus, and a mommy too sick to tend to them. My poor husband returned from his hunting trip to a ghastly homecoming. That has been almost ten years ago, and I still feel a ripple of panic if I hear one of my children up in the night headed to the bathroom.

Avoiding the stomach bug is of utmost importance to me. Here are some of my strategies:

1. Coconut Oil

If you read previous post (on my former blog)  I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts, you know I’m a huge fan of coconut oil for all kinds of things. In times like these, I’m particularly interested in it’s anti-viral properties. I try to add at least a tbs of coconut oil to my smoothie or oatmeal each day, but these days, I’m sure not to miss a “dose” and I’m adding extra to my diet when I can.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother)

For some people, this cure might be worse than the disease, but not for me. I’d drink nearly anything to avoid the stomach virus – including drinking apple cider vinegar.  And tummy health is just one of the benefits of apple cider vinegar.

3. Grape Juice

Drinking apple cider vinegar became easier when I realized I could mix it with grape juice and get double the bug preventing benefits.  Apparently it changes the pH in your system which prevents the virus from multiplying.  Maybe it would do the trick to drink only grape juice OR vinegar instead of both, but why take chances?

4. Obsessive Compulsive Cleaning and Hand Washing.

In a previous post I shared with you my ten baby steps to natural living, but when it comes to the tummy bug, I would carpet bomb my house with Lysol and Clorox if I could. I wash my hands constantly. I keep sanitizing wipes in every room and use them after I’ve touched anything my children have touched. I should probably be more concerned about alcohol poisoning than the stomach virus.

5. Withholding Affection

Okay, not really. And this is my Achille’s heal. I’ll be honest. When my kids get the tummy bug, a huge part of me does want to avoid them. But then they look up at me with those pale faces and pitiful eyes, and I just have to hold them and kiss them – but only on the very tippy tip top of the head.

So that’s it. My big strategy. I can tell you it has worked in the past. The last few times the bug hit my family I was spared. Will I be this time? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy some yummy coconut oil, delicious grape juice and a super clean house.

NOTE:  The last time the stomach but hit our house, I did not end up with it even though I shared a drink with Charming Chet about 20 minutes before he started feeling sick.  Once it was clear that he had definitely fallen victim to the bug, I immediately I started my apple cider vinegar and grape juice routine.  I came down with a VERY mild case.  No vomiting.  Just some tummy rumbling and a dull headache.  I will never be without grape juice and apple cider vinegar on hand!  However, none of this should be taken as medical advice. It could all just be wishful thinking or luck.

Linked at Homemade Mondays

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