Today has just been a bundle of fun. Everything started out perfectly normal—that is, until I got a call from daycare at 9 a.m. informing me that Olivia had spit up (something she hasn’t done in months). It wasn’t bad and she wasn’t running a fever, so they decided to let her nap and see how she was afterward. Apparently, the situation deteriorated rapidly because, before long, I got a second call asking me to come pick her up, as she had just blown grits all over the place. By the time I made it there, she was wrapped in nothing but a towel, having thrown up all over herself. It was the most pitiful sight I have ever seen. This is the first time she has ever had a stomach bug and, man, when she does something, she really does it! She went straight for the norovirus, of cruise ship fame, and there’s a major outbreak of it in Fairfax County. Olivia was the second casualty of this virus at daycare just this morning. So since many of my readers are in the DC metro area (and even those who aren’t, this is good info to have), here’s my PSA for the day!
Noroviruses are a group of highly contagious stomach bugs that spread rapidly from person to person through contaminated food and drink, contaminated surfaces, and direct contact. Symptoms often develop suddenly and generally last 1-2 days. Symptoms include:
Children in school or daycare are extremely susceptible to the virus. Most often, symptoms don’t arise until 24-48 hours after exposure (though they can occur as soon as 12 hours following exposure), which means children are likely to spread the virus without displaying any symptoms. By the time the symptoms start, it’s usually too late. Because small children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths, this is a difficult virus to contain in a daycare setting.
The most dangerous aspect of the norovirus is that it can cause severe dehydration, especially in young children. Make sure to give your child plenty of fluids, such as Pedialyte. My daughter also likes the Pedialyte Freezer Pops, which are great right now, since she’s cutting a few new teeth. For her upset tummy, I have been giving her Nabisco’s Premium Saltine Minis—they are the perfect size for her little hands.
If you or your little one is unfortunate enough to come down with this nasty bug, be sure to wash your hands obsessively and try to disinfect as many surfaces as you can. I’ve also been using the sanitary setting on our washing machine for her clothes, bedding and anything else that ends up in the line of fire. And when all else fails, Netflix has about a year’s worth of the Backyardigans at your disposal!