I got an email through the Natrona County School District notification system that Norovirus (“stomach flu”) cases were on the rise in the county, along with a handy and lengthy piece from the Wyoming Department of Health, the “Viral Gastroenteritis Fact Sheet”. The detailed clinical information on symptoms, ways the virus is spread, and prevention tips was very “news you can use”, so up on the sites it went. (You can read the more conventional story along with the fact sheet here.)

I arrived home with images of nasty toilets and contaminated surfaces still running through my head, and Offspring informs me he doesn’t feel great, and had been sick.

Immediate panic ensued.

Me: (stopped dead in my tracks). “What?!”

Offspring: “Yeah, I was sick.”

Me: (still not moving closer): “Do you have that other thing, too?”

Offspring: “Oh, yeah.”


Offspring: “Yeah.”

Unbeliever that I am, I proceeded to break out the vinyl gloves, spray down everything in sight, and quarantine the room. In the end, it would seem the likely culprit might have been leftover fast food stashed in the frig and consumed in the wee hours, but still.

Any Mom (and Dads and others) knows the fear that drives us to Lysol everything in sight, to instantly re-live Much Unpleasantness of middle-of-the-night nasty cleanups, and to seize up if the grocery store is out of those little wipes for the cart handles. Visions of saltines and chicken broth start floating before our eyes. Don’t even think about the vicarious response. Hey, I said DON’T THINK ABOUT THAT.

Well, the upshot is, stomach “flu” (which is not influenza, by the way) happens and we can only do the best we can to avoid catching it and/or spreading it. The big takeaway points are these:

Wash your hands. A lot. And well, not soapless finger dipping. Wash ‘em.

If you’re sick, stay home. Yes, I know, sometimes easier said than done. As one poster pointed out, “You gonna pay my bills?” (their grammar and spelling). Well, no, but do the best you possibly can. That goes for sending sickly little ones off into the School Zone as well. Those Who Are Still Well implore you. Remember, your co-workers probably can’t afford the time off, either. And think of this, you don’t want to be revealed as the one who started the office/school epidemic. (“Everything was fine until Nancy/Ed/Little Tommy showed up at the office/school sick. Then all hell broke loose.”)

And don’t stay home from work and then go shopping, either. Just stay home. Not that I’ve ever done anything like that. Nope.

Clean, clean, clean. If there’s illness in your house, clean. The best recommendation is a solution of one third cup bleach to a gallon of water. You’ll get over the smell. That’s what the fancy scented wax melters are for.

In short, we need to use our common sense and some best practices, and have some pity for our fellows. We’re all in the germ pool together, after all.