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February Is Prime Time For Viruses

After the hugs and kisses of the holidays come the stomach bugs and chest colds of February. Read on and find some tips to help keep you and your family healthy while the viruses are in full swing.

I recently spent a day sitting in the emergency room of Middlesex Hospital.  My husband was slipping in and out of consciousness and I was worried sick.

He was fully evaluated and they determined he was severely de-hydrated and suffering from one nasty viral sickness. Thankfully, it wasn't too serious.

His visit to the E.R. was the culmination of nearly 4 weeks worth of illnesses  in our house.  We've had everything from colds to ear infections and stomach bugs. This despite what I considered a valiant war I waged on germs.

Our family was like a line of dominos falling one by one.  For goodness sake, even the dog got the stomach bug!  It was a nasty one.  I was the fourth in line and it was a ferocious beast.

It didn't even have the decency to call or drop a note and let me know that it was coming for a visit.  I had zero symptoms until one day, it struck like a freak flash of lightning out of the sky.  My stomach spasmed with such intensity that I thought I must have accidentally swallowed a pipe bomb. I ran to the bathroom which was luckily only 5 steps away.  Had it been 6, I wouldn't have made it.

Thank God it didn't last long, about a day.  Just in time for my husband to get it.  While we sat in the hospital, several Weslyan students came in with the same thing.  The sounds of wretching echoed from every direction of the triage rooms. 

My husband's nurse said that February is prime time for stomach bugs and other illnesses because we spend a lot of time during Christmas and New Year's hanging out with lots of people and we tend to be very touchy feely at that time of year. 

The viruses have a chance to incubate and boom, explosive things start happening in places we don't mention in polite company.

She gave me some very good tips for staying well and I thought I'd pass them along to you.

1.  Drink LOTS of water.  This sounds really obvious but it's easy to forget to drink.  You must drink 8 glasses of water everyday.  If you miss even one day, you are considered dehydrated by medical standards and the more dehydrated you are when a bug strikes, the harder it will be for you to recover.

2.  Wash your hands.  Do not use the antibacterial gels.  The doctors said that the stomach bug that's going around is not killed by them.  The best way to kill those buggers is good old fashioned scrubbing and rinsing.

3.  If your child has a fever but is vomiting and in pain, consider giving them a suppository with motrin to bring down a fever. When the nurse suggested this to me I felt really stupid.  My mom used to do this for me and it worked like a charm.  I don't know why I never thought of it.  Obviously, you should check with your doctor before doing this.

4.  Try this super drink for both kids and adults: 1/3 pedialyte ( I used the grape and it turned out yummy), 1/3 gingerale, 1/3 Hawaiian punch.  The kids love it and it keeps their electrolites in balance. Pedialyte is also good for adults and it has a great shelf life, lasting up to a year in the fridge!  You can also get the powdered kind that you can keep on hand in your pantry when a stomach bug comes to visit.

5. Throw your toothbrushes out after every illness. We know to do this when someone has strep but we need to do this with every illness.  It's an inexpensive way to get rid of germs.

6.  Wash all bedding and clothes with a disinfectant like clorox.  For colors, try vinegar in the wash.

7.  When cleaning the house don't forget to scrub things like computer keyboards, phones, remote controls and stair railings. Clorox wipes are my best friend!

8.  Beware of a second go-round of stomach virus.  The one that Middlesex Hospital is seeing, loves to come back for round two and it's just as vicious the second time around.

9.  Do not skimp on sleep.  It might be tempting to keep up the fast past of the holidays but don't do it.  Being tired wreaks havoc on your immune system and you're much more likely to get sick. Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.

10.  If you're already sick (and drinking plenty of fluids) consider sitting in a sauna.  Studies show that similar to drinking water, a hot sauna will flush cold toxins out of your body.  Just be sure to rehydrate well!

Hopefully this blog post finds you well and if not, I hope some of these tips can help so you don't end up in the E.R. like us.  And even if you do end up at the hospital, you are in good hands.  The people there made the experience as pleasant as possible for us and for that, I am forever grateful.

To read more by Alicia visit www.americasnexttopmommy.blogspot.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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