Surviving Norovirus Naturally

Lots of people are getting sick lately, and it seems to be a vicious outbreak of norovirus. Norovirus causes 19-21 million illnesses in the U.S. each year, contributing to 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations. Norovirus is sometimes confused with the stomach flu, though it isn’t a flu at all. A flu is a respiratory illness and won’t cause gastrointestinal distress.

Suriving Norovirus Naturally

Symptoms of Norovirus are stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes fever, bodycramps/aches, and head ache. A big concern with norovirus is dehydration. Norovirus usually only lasts 1-3 days, but you are contagious from the moment you feel ill until up to 3 days after your last symptoms disappear. It can continue to live in your stool for up to 2 weeks.
This all being said, we just had norovirus hit our house. It started with me, and I had the worst of it. I had every single symptom listed above, and I was miserable. Thankfully, vomiting ended 5 hours after it started, and the other visits to the toilet ended 12 hours after their start. It moves quickly, but my body just ached for a full 24 hours. Being a mom was difficult! Being a mom to a 9-month-old (who also had it) was even worse.
My daughter threw everything up but still wanted to nurse. I nursed and nursed and nursed, being able to hold down only water myself, I knew I had to push it so she could stay hydrated. Her diapers got down to 3 barely wet diapers in 24 hours. My super soaker had a barely damp prefold after a 12-hour wear overnight. It can really be scary seeing that! She stopped vomiting after about 4 hours, so I knew she was taking in milk, she just wasn’t putting it out. I also saw that she still had tears when she cried–not having them can be a sign of dehydration–so I just kept with what we were doing.
The best thing you can do is push fluids. Push water, and if you can, coconut water. Coconut water has lots of electrolytes and none of the fake stuff that Pedialyte has in it. I, unfortunately, cannot stand coconut water. I drank water and just nursed all day, trying to rest.
My husband took vinegar and cleaned everything. He scrubbed and scrubbed. Then he took alcohol (after more bathroom visits by me) and did it again. This is the sad thing, the thing we didn’t know:
Norovirus is resistant to many disinfectants. You pretty much need to use chlorine bleach to kill it.
What about soiled clothes? What about diapers? The CDC suggests treating all soiled clothing like they contain feces or vomit (which could contain norovirus). They recommend moving them without agitating them (so you don’t release any virus into the air–yikes), and transporting them while wearing gloves. Since I was already ill, I didn’t need to worry about that, but I did take them all to the laundry room to be washed. You should wash clothes on the longest cycle possible, then dry in the dryer. If the CDC suggests that would take care of the virus that was in any vomit or feces on clothing, I would hope that works for diapers, too. If you have a good wash routine and you know your diapers are coming clean, I would keep doing what you’re doing.
If you want some alternative to bleach, Oil of Oregano will cut the virus numbers ten-fold, but for comparison, bleach cuts them a MILLION-fold. It might not hurt to put a couple drops of Oil of Oregano in the rinse cycle of your wash, though.
Although cranky the next day, and hubby was sick the next day (but not even for an hour, lucky. He thanks elderberry syrup for that one.), we are on the mend. My daughter is now simply clingy (and only wants me), but she’s back to wetting like normal. Now that we are on the mend, we thought we’d share a bit of info to hopefully help you protect your families from it! Prevention is key!
Christine Kangas is a mom of two trying to lead a greener life. She lives in the mid-western U.S. with her family and three cats. 

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