I have one big fear in motherhood—you know, aside from the nightmare of something truly tragic happening to my child. This fear is one that keeps me up at night. It has resulted in canceled plans, feelings of complete selfishness and the occasional desire to lock my daughter in a room far, far away from me. (Don’t worry, I’ve never actually done that.)
This fear of mine is one I’m convinced most moms share: the fear of the dreaded stomach flu (or, you know, norovirus, as it's technically called).
Way back in 2012, I was celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends at a cabin when two of the kiddos with us started puking. Having never caught the stomach flu as an adult and being one of those people who generally isn’t too concerned about germs, I jumped right in to help.
Just two days later, I got hit so hard by the bug myself, I was pretty convinced I was dying. That was when the fear began.
A year after that, I was a first-time mama to a 9-month-old who brought home the pukes from daycare. I, of course, doted on her and did everything in my power to get her through those first brutal hours.
Two days later, I was puking over my own shoulder as I changed her diaper and introduced her to screens for the first time, just to keep her occupied as I suffered alone in the bathroom.
Ever since, I have lived in mortal fear of the stomach flu. While I am usually the mom who says, “Eh, she could catch that in preschool as easily as she could from your kids,” whenever a friend calls to warn of a cough or cold just before a scheduled play date, I don’t play around with any signs of puking or the big D. If anyone in your family is sick to their stomach, I want you staying the hell away from me and my girl.
Theoretically, this could work for your whole family.
According to a recent story in the Washington Post, I’m not the only mom who feels this way.
So when my daughter woke up puking at 5:30 AM just a week before Christmas this year, I totally panicked. And in my woe-is-me moment, I shared my nightmare with the internet.
That turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. Because it wasn’t long before someone suggested I start chugging grape juice to save myself from getting the same bug.
Yes, grape juice.
A quick Google search later, I learned that this is actually a thing. Apparently there is something in grape juice that changes the pH in your stomach and prevents norovirus from multiplying. To have it work, you have to:
· Start drinking grape juice before your own symptoms begin. Once you’ve started puking, it’s pointless.
· Ensure the grape juice you are drinking is 100 percent grape juice, no sugar added.
· Start drinking three glasses a day as soon as possible after exposure.
· Continue doing so for up to a week.
Theoretically, this could work for your whole family. Which I know could be especially helpful for large families who tend to cycle this bug around for up to two weeks at a time.
I got my own grape juice about 24 hours after my daughter started puking (being a single mom, I had to wait until she was well before heading to the grocery store). And, after drinking three glasses a day for the next five days, I never got sick.
The kid puked on me, in my bed and on my pillow. So, while I recognize I could have just gotten lucky, I’m attributing at least some of my success to the grape juice. A ton of my readers chimed in to say the same trick has helped them to stave off the puking themselves.
So, I’m giving this one my official seal of approval. Not as a doctor or member of the healthcare field (which, I most certainly am not, just to be clear) but as a mom who knows just how scary it can be when one of your kids starts puking.
From this point forward, I’ll be stocking up on grape juice to have on hand every stomach flu season. And I’ll start by letting my preschooler have a rare juice treat anytime I hear of whispers of puking at her school.
If I can save us both, even better!