I can confirm what any parent will tell you, "it's always something."

This week it's the stomach bug at my house, where two of my kids have gotten sick in the last 24 hours. Of course, when kids need to vomit they often don't make it to the toilet in time. That's always fun. Parents love doing extra laundry, washing bedding and blankets, and scrubbing puke off the couch. Then do it all over again a few hours later. Sometimes this goes on for days, as the bug works its way through your household.


Do you have a "puke bucket" at your house?

When I was a little kid, we had a large green Tupperware bowl that was the official receptacle for upset stomach contents. At our house now, we have a little pink bucket similar to the one below. It's officially known as The Puke Bucket and we've been using it lately as a stomach bug seems to be making its rounds in Yellowstone County.

Credit: Amazon, Stock Your Home Store
Credit: Amazon, Stock Your Home Store

Stomach illness is not the flu.

Riverstone Health reminds Billings residents to know the difference. They wrote,

Take a tip from one of our resident physicians. There’s no such thing as the “stomach flu.” The 24-hour “bug” that causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea is not the flu virus. Learn the symptoms of influenza and tips on preventing its spread.

Dr. Kristen Day, a Pediatrician at Billings Clinic wrote that "stomach flu", a.k.a gastroenteritis is one of the most common reasons they see children in their office.

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Photo by Devyn Holman on Unsplash
Photo by Devyn Holman on Unsplash

Wash your hands.

Rotavirus and Noroviruses spread easily, according to Mayo Clinic. One of the easiest ways to slow the spread is to wash your hands. Wash them frequently, like we did when COVID began. If your kid comes home sick, they also recommend:

  • Disinfecting hard surfaces.
  • Avoid sharing common personal items (utensils, towels, etc)
  • Keep your distance. Easier said than done.
  • Wear gloves while handling sick-kid laundry.

How long is the stomach bug contagious?

You can be contagious from a few days up to two weeks or more, depending on which virus is causing your stomach flu (gastroenteritis). - Mayo Clinic

After the vomiting stops, please do everyone a favor and keep your kid home for another day or so, if possible. And don't forget the 7-Up and saltine crackers.

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