Barf Alert: Stomach Bug Season Starts

DSC_0127.JPGSorry for the gross headline. Barfing is gross. I was reminded this weekend when one daughter got the bug, then another (see left). Finally, it was my turn.
We had the dreaded, evil, intestine-twisting stomach virus. So did my friends’ family in West Orange. “Everyone in our house, including our nanny, got it. That is everyone EXCEPT for me! I had to take on the title and duties of the One-Woman-Clean-Up-Crew!” said Betsy Stephens, mom of 2.
I called my pediatrician, Dr. Vito Petrozzino, M.D., in Livingston, to find out if the stomach bug is the latest trend.
Yes stomach bugs are back. “We’ve had several children in the office with this complaint–vomiting,” says Dr. P. He says we haven’t reached the height of this nasty wintertime bug, we’re only at the beginning of the curve. Here’s more info:
Barfing Bug
Who: Mostly kids but adult caretakers, too
What: Rotavirus and norovirus, AKA stomach flu
Where: We probably get it where kids hang out–school, nurseries, extra-curricular classes.
When: Wintertime is the main season; virus strikes quickly and lasts 24 to 48 hours.
More info: Very contagious, mainly through the mouth; wash hands, don’t share foods and drinks. Make sure little ones don’t get dehydrated–they should sip small amounts of liquid frequently, like Pedialyte. If a child’s vomiting lasts more than 2 days, take him to the doctor.
Now my last question: When should I have sent my kids back to school? They were well on Sunday morning, so they went to school as usual on Monday. My best friend in Manhattan said she would have waited 1 more day. “My kids were fine the day after barfing. But we did manage to give it to my entire family when we visited four days later,” said Chandra Czape, mom of 2.
Dr. P. disagrees: “When they feel better and have no vomiting, they can go back.”

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Seriously? This is not news – it’s over-sharing in the worst way! Is it not bad enough that every person on Facebook feels the need to share when they’re sick, so now you have to use your call to the pediatrician as public information? Keep this stuff to yourself, we’ve all been sick, we don’t need a reminder on how the flu works.
    Is there a button for “in poor taste”?

  2. I disagree. I appreciate knowing it’s going around so I can be a little more on guard.
    A picture of a kid spewing at the curb at Newark airport might have been over the line, but this kind of post seems in the vein of public service.

  3. What’s lacking in making this in the vein of a public service is numbers.
    So, one kid home from school is an issue?
    Or perhaps, being generous, SEVERAL kids in Livingston is far from anything out of the norm.
    It is January.
    Folk are in confined spaces, viruses spread.
    Is this news?
    So unless there is some reporting done here (calling local school districts, health depts., etc.) with some real numbers (sorry, but one kid, a friend’s family and “several” others doesn’t cut it) I consider this far from a public service.
    Once again, it’s just way too personal, gross and SKEVVY.
    THIS JUST IN:
    I feel fine. And a friend from Wayne feels great too. Oh, wait, I just got an email from someone in NYC, they also feel great.

  4. Prof,
    “Yes stomach bugs are back. “We’ve had several children in the office with this complaint–vomiting,” says Dr. P.”
    Are you calling the doctor a liar? Or is it “not news” unless some epidemiological statistical analysis is performed and some specific threshold met?
    Personally the “it’s not news” argument (if you can call it that) wears a little thin.
    When you are the editor you get to decide what’s “news”.
    If the post gets 5 mothers to get their kids to wash their hands after school today, then a public service will have been performed.

  5. p.s.
    If it helps the good prof. The as yet unsubstantiated stomach bug struck me 2 days ago and some friends are home with sick kids today.

  6. p.p.s.
    And despite the lack of an official alert from the CDC or the Essex Health Department, or confirmation from school districts we’re assuming it’s contagious and acting accordingly.

  7. I appreciate being reminded that it’s bug season – and that it has indeed reared its innards once more. Considering this is Barista Kids, it’s absolutely appropriate for a posting.

  8. So mothers need this post to “get” their kids to wash their hands?
    H1N1 fears weren’t enough?
    It was the BARF post on Baristanet.
    And if this qualifies for a public service, I cannot wait to see what other obvious issue the “public” needs to be informed of…
    Wear your seatbelts!!
    Don’t smoke!!
    But your idea that a doc in January confirming that several kids are vomiting is news is funny.
    I’m not usually one to scream “not news,” but in light of the public crapping post, this just screams TMI.
    But if you were reminded to wash your hands, I guess some good came of it…..

  9. it’s just a funny aspect of we normal humans, prof. We take extra care to wash our hands when the stomach flu is going around. I know it’s crazy. I even have no problem with the public-pooping story as a story. I am against the pooping but the discussion of such might get people thinking about what it is to be polite public.

  10. My point though is the idea that something is “going around.”
    Without some real information from folks who tabulate and keep such info, this is of no help whatsoever.
    Because on ANY day, you can find 6 people with a “bug” and a Doc to confirm, yes, we’ve seen sick people.
    Does that mean it’s “going around”?
    I’m not sure.
    Maybe if the “reporter” here called several local Dr.’s offices to ask you might be able to get a better picture.
    Or IF all six were from a single class at a school, maybe.
    But from 6 people from 2 Towns 5 miles apart?
    This is of NO value whatsoever.

  11. well prof. Here’s to hoping you don’t get what’s not going around, because when I didn’t get it it was a total drag.

  12. (the prof is laughing…)
    Exactly what is going around?
    What we have confirmed is that 6 local people 5 miles apart, are sick.
    That anyone else may get sick today is NOT proof of anything “going around.”
    Again, folks get sick in winter. All the time. Everyday. There are sick people.

  13. Prof,
    People do get sick all winter long, but the stomach virus is different than the common colds that people get all winter.
    It’s like the plague, making its way amongst the family, spreading filth and a rancid smell throughout the house. It’s hell.
    I also know of 4 local families who have gotten it in the past few weeks.

  14. If only the plague claimed 6 people, 5 miles apart and “4 local” families.
    If only.
    BUT.
    A stomach virus like norovirus is passed from folks in common areas.
    In the cold of winter, folks tend to stay inside.
    So folks get all sort of nasty plague-type viruses because they share a confined space.
    6 people and 4 family does not constitute ANY sort of issue.
    But perhaps a phone call from one of the intrepid bloggers to someone who can tell us IF this is something more than normal (hell even a google flu alert might help) can clear this up.
    Otherwise, I stand by my question of whether this is news, a public service or a Facebook status update (I go with the latter…)

  15. I know how Ms. Kemp’s family got the stomach virus — after pooping in the potty curbside at the Newark airport, her boy licked his hands clean. Then Mr. Kemp accidentally touched the poop when he was dumping it in the trash can. Before he had a chance to wash his hands he touched everyone in his family, and…voila, another facebook status update is born!

  16. If it makes you feel better prof. I was over at Hillside school before the winter break and kids were hurling all over the place. The secretary in the office had to keep paging the janitor (at least 3 times in the hour I was there) to go clean up more you-know-what. These kids couldn’t even make it the garbage can. When my kids came home they had even more stories of kids running to the bathroom or asking to go to the nurse. I thought for sure we were going to spend the vacation sick…but it did not get us yet.
    If you want to know whats “going around” ask a school nurse they have to total scoop! But this bug goes around EVERY year. And I live in fear of it, so I hate to see stories about it because it will be “going around” till the whole town has had it! Same as always but that IS what the headline says: Stomach bug “SEASON”.

  17. WOW!!
    I am SHOCKED that folks get sick in winter time.
    What’s next? — Sunburns in Summer?
    That’s news.
    Folks over eat at Thanksgiving?
    Say it ain’t so!
    (As for asking a school nurse, that was my point about this post– where is some real information rather than anecdotal evidence…)

  18. “I am SHOCKED that folks get sick in winter time.”
    What is that statement based on prof? Sounds anecdotal to me.

  19. Common knowledge and experience doesn’t need a citation.
    If I said, this is the worst flu-season (Hey, they even have a name for this common knowledge and experience– FLU SEASON– by I digress) in 25 years based on my facebook friends, that’s anecdotal.
    Saying it is flu-season, is not.
    So unless you can tell me that flu-season exists in July, I stand by my statement.
    Moreover, I offered the reasons why viruses and flu’s occur more often during winter months.
    Anecdotal? No.
    But this post?
    Entirely anecdotal and not helpful in the least.
    Oh, wait. I forgot. This post reminded you to wash your hands.

  20. “Saying it is flu-season, is not. [anecdotal]”
    So then what’s anecdotal about this post then? She doesn’t say it’s the “worst in 25 years”.
    As you say, “Common knowledge and experience doesn’t need a citation.”
    So why are you demanding citations?

  21. Because 6 people in a 5 mile radius does not constitute a something “going around.”
    Taking 10 mins. to call a few others may have proved or disproved this anecdotal story.
    (The call to 1 doc was a start, but considering it’s Winter, 1 doc is surely not going to prove anything.)
    But again, it made you wash your hands, so all was not lost 😉

  22. “Because 6 people in a 5 mile radius does not constitute a something “going around.””
    Do you think they got it spontaneously and not from contact with an infected person? How does that work exactly? How does one get the flu if not for the fact that it’s “going around”?

  23. So anytime anyone is ill, there’s something going around?
    But in an area of over 100 thousand folks, I’m not convinced 6 people constitutes anything out of the norm that constitutes something, “going around.”
    (Moreover, by this definition, isn’t something always, “going around” in that there are sick folks all the time.)
    Again, IF this post had SOME evidence outside of what we can normally expect in January, I’d feel differently.
    Unfortunately, as written, there is nothing other than 6 folks and a Doc saying the obvious: folks get sick in Winter.
    I really cannot wait for the Summer version of this: A whole family is sunburned— be careful the sun is particularly HOT in July.
    (Roc, are we going to single handedly bring this post to more comments than the public crapping post? I’m free all day to try…)

  24. “So anytime anyone is ill, there’s something going around?”
    If it’s communicable, yes. By definition in fact. So for your future reference and to sum up: anytime anyone gets a communicable illness then something is (quite literally) “going around”.
    So hopefully, we’ve established that diseased people imply disease. I hope.
    So the only “issue” you might have prof is “how relevant” is this small sample of infected people? Since this illness rears its head each year and since this illness usually races through a large number of the population, then when even a few cases pop up here and there (especially in school age children) it is an almost certainty that the year’s epidemic may be imminent. Meaning (I hope you will glean) that it may not yet be an epidemic.
    Now there are those of us in the population (yourself not included, obviously) who appreciate knowing when this starts to popup sporadically because this usually means (as the headline indicates) that stomach season approaches. As it does each and every year, but (as you might or might not know) not on precisely the same day or week each year.
    So this general type of information is (to us) useful.
    Also, when last I checked, and though this is, I am sure, anecdotal in your eyes, sunburns are not a communicable disease. However, that being said, it probably would be a good idea and even a service to the community to put up an post in July about the dangers of sunburns and small children.

  25. I’m thrilled that you needed a post here to tell you that folks get sick in winter. AND that flu season begins in well, flu season– when the cold weather hits and folks are inside.
    Oh, and to wash your hands.
    Likewise, I suppose an obvious post reminded folks of the dangers of sunburn on children will be most helpful to baristakid readers.
    Let’s keep ’em coming:
    – Wear your seatbelts
    – Helmets when biking, skating or boarding
    – Don’t smoke
    – Exercise
    And remember, it’s never too early to introduce age-appropriate sex education.

  26. Wow, this thread was so ridiculous it made me throw up in my mouth a little.
    The GI illness is not the flu, it’s probably norovirus. Rotatvirus usually effects the younger pre-school crowd and people usually develop partial or full immunity to it. Not so with norovirus–immunity lasts only about 6 months–so people get it year after year.
    It does totally suck. But for the vast majority, it is very short lived and I also tire of seeing stories and facebook status updates about it. This happens every year, people. It spreads mostly through fecal matter left on the hands. And even after your symptoms clear, you shed the virus in your poo. Nice.
    It’s just a part of childhood and why spread anxiety about it? Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer all through the fall, winter, and early spring and keep your fingers crossed.
    They are working on a vaccine.
    (And when I get it, I always tell myself that I am now one stomach flu away from my goal weight.)

  27. I am a teacher and it is 24 hours of fever and vomit free. Believe me, MANY parents will bring their child exactly 24 hours. Just because you have been fever/vomit free for 24 hours doesn’t mean you still don’t feel crummy. I remember when I was young my FULLTIME working mother would let me stay home until I was 100% percent, no matter how long that took. It makes me sick to see how some of these kids are forced to get better so Mommy can go to her yoga class or whatever it may be.

  28. tudlow,
    You use one of my least favorite (not funny and over used) sayings, “threw up a little in my mouth.”).
    But then use one of my faves from Devil Wears Prada, “one stomach flu away from my goal weight.”
    Batting .500
    And as a baseball fan, that’s great.

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