Have you ever had one of those weeks where every member of your family comes down with a tummy bug one by one? Where by mid week you have run out of sheets and towels? Where after a couple of days your imprint can be seen etched in the couch cushion. And you are intimately familiar with the plots of the latest Dora or Paw Patrol adventure? Welcome to my nightmare week!
This last week every member of our household, bar one, came down with the stomach flu. It wasn’t pretty! To say I am looking forward to Monday and the start of a new week is an understatement. And they are big words, because anyone who knows me will tell you I hate Mondays!
One thing I did have plenty of time for this week was … thinking. I had to think so the noise of my brain would drown out Dora’s horrid, little voice and the spine cringing song of her ‘Map’. All this thinking resulted in some Mum hacks on how to tackle tummy bugs naturally in your household. Many of the ideas below will also apply to other common viral illness.
There is a heap of over the counter medicines, drinks and remedies for every ailment. While I agree there is a time and place for them, I also think we are too quick to pop a pill. Especially when good old-fashioned common sense can be as effective. Below I have compiled a list of tried and tested, old-fashioned advice. Or Mum-hacks that will help you naturally tackle tummy bugs in your home the next time one strikes.
Fluid intake is a vital component of tackling tummy bugs. Staying well hydrated is important during any illness, but it can be hard to do when your tummy is churning. Having small amounts of fluid often will give you a better chance of keeping fluids down.
Your choice of fluid is important too. Of course if your child is breastfeeding, then do not stop offering feeds. For infants, older children and adults try staying away from diary. Also avoid any caffeinated drinks, as these can be very unsettling on the stomach.
Opt for clear liquids like water or broth.
Bone broth is great if you want to try eating, as it is full of health giving properties. And it is easily digestible. If you would like to know how to make this for your family, you can get my recipe for easy to make bone broth here.
Natural herbal teas free from caffeine can also help settle an upset tummy. Try ginger, spearmint, chamomile or licorice.
Chemist shops stock replacement electrolyte drinks for those who have been vomiting. Replacing the salts and minerals your body has lost is important to help you recover faster. Yes, you could buy them, but it is cheaper to make your own and you have total control of what goes into them.
Here is one recipe I like to use from Super Healthy Kids (www.superhealtykids.com):
3 cup – coconut water
1 cup – apple juice
1 cup – ice
1/8 teaspoon – sea salt
1 tablespoon – honey
1/4 medium – lime
1/4 medium – orange
Put all ingredients in a high-powered blender, and blend for one minute.
Pour into containers and enjoy immediately or store in the fridge for later. Will stay good in the fridge for one week.
Optional: add a squeeze of lime and orange juice!
Note: Use your choice of 100% juice flavor!
The BRAT diet:
This anagram was a tool that we used in my past life as a paediatric nurse. It is a great addition to your toolbox to help you naturally tackle tummy bugs. Each of these foods are easy to digest. They are full of good nutrients and are a good natural source of carbohydrates. They are a great offering for anyone who is suffering from diarrhea as they help firm things up. Here is a run down on what the anagram stands for and what each of the foods can offer.
Bananas: Bananas are easy to digest. They also replace the potassium you lose from vomiting and diarrhea.
Rice: Brown rice has too much fiber and may produce excess gas. White rice is easy for your body to process and provides energy from carbs.
Applesauce: Applesauce provides an energy boost. This is due to the carbs and sugars, and contains pectin, which can help with diarrhea.
Toast: Avoid whole-wheat bread, as fiber can be difficult on the digestive system. White bread is processed and easier to digest.
Supercharge your washing machine:
This week we ran out of every towel and sheet we own! To say our washing machine was earning its keep is an understatement.
Give your washing machine a helping hand and kill any lingering bugs by adding in Essential oils. Essential oils are a fantastic addition to any home where you want to live a more natural lifestyle. Essential oils are derived from plants and are incredibly powerful.
To help kill the germs in your laundry, try adding 20 drops of Eucalyptus or Thieves oil to your wash. Make sure, if you can, to hang all washing on the line as the ultra violet rays also help to kill germs. This is one of the reasons that we scent our Power Laundry Powder with Eucalyptus and Lavender essential oils. Both known for their anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties.
Smell your way to health:
As I mentioned above, Essential oils are a great addition to your home if you want to live in a more natural way. They are also a handy tool to utilise when you want to tackle tummy bugs. There are a heap of different oils all suited to help end nausea. But the most common ones are lemon, ginger and peppermint.
An easy way to deliver these oils is through diffusion using an ultra sonic diffuser. If you don’t have access to one, you could put a few drops of each onto a tissue and smell as needed. As always, when you are using these powerful oils, safety is important. Especially around children. To learn about using Essential oils safely check out my blog post ‘Essential Oils: The Benefits and the Risks’.
I really hope you don’t have to suffer through a week like mine! But if you do, I hope these tried and true Mum-hacks help you get through.
Remember as Hypocrates, the father of modern medicine, says “All Disease begins in the gut”. The best thing you can do to help prevent getting sick in the first place is to look after the health of your gut. That means eating real, wholefoods. And try and include a daily helping of natural probiotic foods. Such as Kombucha, Kefir and Saurkraut.
Lastly, ditch the synthetic chemicals out of your cleaning and personal care regime. All these factors combined go a long way to improving the health of your gut and immune system.
For now I am getting my tush off the couch, getting out of the house and enjoying feeling well and healthy!
If you have any tips and tricks for naturally tackling tummy bugs in your home I would love to hear them. So please leave me a message in the comments below.