Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Ugh... Gastro - Norovirus Epidemic

Nope this is not a pretty picture of a flower, it is a bug.  Not the garden variety we are use to but the virus kind.  We've had a yucky few days in our home this week as first my sister, then me, then Tom have had gastro (Gastroenteritis) .  It is apparently an epidemic throughout Melbourne at the moment and is of a particular strain for which we have no immunity.  This Norovirus strain is highly contagious and has been working its way around Australia for the last few months.

My work has quarantined me to my home for a few days to avoid making anyone else ill.   At any other time this would be a blessing but not when you are not feeling well and you are looking after someone else who is also not well.  Poor Tom was vomiting so bad yesterday he has strained all his tummy muscles and they're aching today. Lucky I'm on a diet since Monday, so not eating hasn't been a problem.    Little Chelsea (6 - my sisters grandchild) was wiped out for two weeks and Glenda was very concerned.  Her childcare centre was closed and the council had to bring in a Hazmat team to scour it clean, twice.

Normal Symptoms?

stomach cramps
headache  - I've had one for 3 days

Germs which cause gastro get into your body through your mouth and it usually takes several days for symptoms to appear. This time is known as the incubation period. Sometimes symptoms may occur within hours of the germs entering your body but it is usually longer.

If you want to know more about Gastroenteritis see PDF  here

I'm sure we have all had it at some point but its hard to watch loved ones being ill and Aspie's in particular find it very difficult to deal with illness emotionally.  You would swear that in their mind the world is coming to an end. Though i didn't want to be ill and he no doubt caught it from me, I'm glad i was home to help Tom as it came on very quickly and very violently.  It was all i could do to get him to take a few calming deep breaths in between trips to the basin or the toilet.  Poor Tom.  

So, what to do?  

There is no antibiotic for this and a doctor will advise you to let it take its course.  Vomiting usually settles in 12-24 hrs but the diarrhoea can take a few more days.  If it lasts longer than this or the patient is an infant or elderly then seek medical advice.

Hydration is the key as the body is losing fluids in all directions.  If you become too dehydrated then you may require hospitalisation to be put on a drip to rehydrate.

So how do these meds work?

Usually when you eat food, your body processes it through your intestine with slow muscle movements, giving your system enough time to absorb the food’s water and nutrients before disposing of any waste matter through your faeces. With an attack of diarrhoea, these muscle movements can speed up and become erratic, pushing food through your system before your body can properly absorb its water and nutrients, resulting in loose, watery, and often excessive bowel movements.  Meds such as Gastro Stop relax and slow down the muscle movement in the intestines to a normal pace allowing the body to absorb the fluids and nutrients.

Every time i gave one to Tom, he vomited it straight back up so i wasn't sure how much of it he was getting.

As suggested, i tried to keep him hydrated but this was difficult.  When i was a child i remember being given flat lemonade when i had a tummy upset but all advice these days say to give rehydration fluid which contains electrolytes (body salts).  We should avoid fruit juices, sports drinks, undiluted soft drinks, cordials and most importantly, milk.

These rehydration products are also useful for those who have lost fluids due to heavy sweating, vigorous exercise and excess alcohol consumption (suffer - you deserve it).
Problem is that despite the orange flavour they taste salty and if an Aspie doesn't like something, there is no way you are going to force him, especially when he is ill.  We stuck to warm water in little sips until he could hold it down and then when he had recovered a sweet tea. He had quite a temp at one point and so ice cubes are one way of getting fluid in small portions and also keeping cool.

Its good to have an electrolyte fluid on hand anyway as i sweat a lot when gardening and I'm not such a fan of plain water.  (I know, so Shoot Me)

Dont Mess With Mama

So when can i go back to work?  (How long will i be contagious?)  

You can be contagious from a few days to two weeks, depending on which virus is causing your stomach flu (gastroenteritis). A number of viruses can cause gastroenteritis, including noroviruses and rotaviruses. The contagious period — the time during which a sick person can give the illness to others — is slightly different for each virus.


With norovirus — the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in adults — you're contagious from the moment you begin to feel ill. Symptoms appear within one to three days of exposure. Although you typically feel better after a day or two, you're contagious for at least three days after you've recovered. Some people may be contagious for up to two weeks after recovery. Also, children are often contagious for a longer period than are adults.

Huh! So if I'm no longer contagious tomorrow but Tom still is, then what do i do?  I want to go back to work!


Symptoms of rotavirus — the leading cause of viral gastroenteritis in infants and young children — appear one to two days after exposure. But you're contagious even before you develop symptoms, and you typically remain contagious for two weeks after you've recovered. Children are often contagious for a longer period than are adults.

The viruses that cause gastroenteritis are spread through close contact with infected people, such as by sharing food or eating utensils. Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer is the most effective way to stop the spread of these viruses to others.

What Now?

Now that i am feeling better its clean clean clean.  I've dragged out the alcohol fluid to ensure hands are clean at all times and especially for me as i prepare the food.  I'm also spraying Glen 20 around the house.  If you believe the hype (?) it kills 99.9% of all germs and viruses.

Hope you are all well and gastro free.

On a good note - i passed 70,000 views today.  Yeah me!  

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land of Oz


  1. Oh nooooo hope you all recover quickly . I havnt had gastro in years hope I don't get it yuck.

  2. Lynda, glad you are feeling a tad better. I can imagine you would want to get back to work well and truly. It is such an awful virus!

  3. Oh Lynda, How awful for your household. Don't rush back to work, you'll be feeling washed out for a little while I would imagine. Sending well wishes your way. Congrats on reaching the 70K milestone on your blog how exciting!

  4. It's so horrible being sick. Especially the kind you all have been battling. Excellent research on the subject. Thank you for the homemade electrolyte drink recipe! Looks like a keeper. I'm with you about water, I try to drink lots but get tired of it. And may I add my congratulations on your 70,000th view! Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks Leigh, who knew that's whats happens inside with your intestines when you have the runs. I taught myself quite a bit.

  5. When I was a kid it was 24 hours of nothing but water. After that IF the symptoms have eased it was white toast with no toppings, white rice and after a bit more, steamed chicken with no seasonings. Flat lemonade was a staple in our house too and weak black tea for Mum. I had gastro about 4-5 years ago and it is awful! If flat lemonade is no go I wonder if flat ginger beer would be appropriate. Ginger is good for nausea after all. Not sure that would pass a doctors tick list though. Hope you're all feeling much better and very soon. I would suggest too that you take the time to recover. I know you'll be playing catch up next week but take tomorrow off my friend. Better to go in on a Saturday when there is no-one to share it with than to go in early and wear yourself out too.

    1. I went in today, they were desperate and when i saw the catchup pile after 3 days, i was glad to be there. No one is indispensable but I've got to be close. FIGJAM LOL


Please leave a comment. I enjoy making connections with my readers. Hope you enjoyed your visit.