Sickness in babies

This week we’re back firing on all cylinders in the Watson house hold but good God last week was awful. We were all down with viral gastroenteritis and it was probably the worst week we’ve had as a trio to date.

When I got it on the Tuesday I felt pretty awful, I was up from about 3am with stomach cramps and the D&V itself started at 5am and lasted until about 1pm with horrible nausea, headache and aches continuing until I went to bed at 7.30pm that evening. I felt so sorry for myself but I was also worried that I physically could not look after Florence, so I had to tell Dean that he couldn’t go into work that day, whilst I was paralysed in the hallway over a bucket – horrible but true.

He managed to be super daddy and take her all day whilst I recovered and we thought we were all clear but then Thursday it was Florry’s turn. She woke me up at 4am from her room coughing and choking (this is one of my worst fears anyway), so I went in to see if she was okay and she was absolutely drenched in vomit but sound asleep (what a trooper!). I woke Dean and we cleaned her up and thought it was maybe just because she didn’t have a proper wind before she went down to sleep. We all got up as normal and shortly after she had eaten her breakfast we put her in her activity table with lots of smiles, songs and giggles. Seconds later there was an almightly eruption of about 6 huge vomits back to back. Now we are parents of a reflux baby so we’re used to seeing a lot of sick but this was on another level. It was everywhere – all over the floor, her table, our tv stand, her mat, the list goes on. I can honestly say that I was so shocked I was rooted to the spot whilst Dean jumped up and got her up, him being covered in the process.

We expected Florry to be really upset but she wasn’t even a little bit, and in fact carried on as normal. In my irrational mummy mind I was thinking, oh god she won’t be able to keep anything down, she will be dehydrated, we will end up in hospital on a drip (other mummies you know you jump to these conclusions too!), but luckily, that wasn’t the case at all! She was a little clingy for the rest of the day but didn’t seem to have a fever, (we gave calpol anyway just incase her little tummy was cramping) or any horrible nappies. We were so proud at how she handled it all, and after a really good nights sleep she seemed right as rain again!

Next was Dean, and I have to say we didn’t expect him to be ill! I’ve never seen him be sick in all the time I knew him but unfortunately that all changed on Friday when we were out for lunch – first time for everything! So within the week all three of us were wiped out and were glad to see the back of it!

So what is gastroenteritis?!

In short, its an infection and irritation of the intestines. It is really common and really contagious so normally travels through households pretty rapidly. A virus is the most common cause, with rotavirus at the top of that list. Almost every child in the UK has a rotavirus infection before they are 5 years old. Bacterial gastroenteritis is usually caused by food poisoning.

Viruses are easily spread from an infected person to another by close contact, on hands or surfaces.

Symptoms vary but can include:

  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • cramping abdominal pains
  • fever
  • headache
  • aching

In most children symptoms are mild and only last for a short time. The important thing is that they keep as hydrated as possible. There are a few times when you should seek help:

  • Child younger than 6 months
  • Fever
  • If you suspect dehydration
  • Drowsiness
  • Unable to keep fluids down
  • Blood in diarrhoea or vomit
  • Travel abroad
  • If you feel the condition is continually getting worse/symptoms not settling

In order to prevent spread try to wash your hands as much as possible with liquid soap in warm running water, drying your hands properly afterwards. Wash soiled clothes on a separate wash on as high a temperature as possible.

As mentioned, rotavirus is the most common cause. There is an effective vaccine agains rotavirus that is given via drops and offered at 2 and 3 months old.

We wash our hands frantically anyway in our house because I’m used to doing it in work all the time, but we went crazy during this, lined the house with towels and stuck them in the wash if they got remotely soiled. We bleached and disinfected antwhere that had been a target and tried to segregate each of us when we were ill. It’s good to have a box with some disinfectant, single use wipes, old clothes that can be used and then discarded afterwards and means that noone has to take a trip out to grab supplies.

Fingers crossed our next episode isnt for quite some time!

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