July 25, 2012

DTQ: How Do You Handle Puking?


So on this installment of our annual family tradition of gathering the cousins at the Outer Banks, a sudden stomach flu outbreak in one family has turned our cottage into one of those crazy plague cruise ships. The sick are holed up on stripped beds. The well carry around fistfuls of disinfectant wipes, nervously wiping down everything, opening things with their elbows. Sharing is out; multiplayer iPad games have gone the way of big bowls of grapes and unmarked water bottles.

And it makes me realize we have different approaches to dealing with puke. It's a little part of our own family culture that is evolving differently from my own--and my siblings' families.

The kid was a real puker, see, and we got really accustomed to dealing with hurling in the car, in the stroller, in bed, wherever. We always had a couple of plastic bags in the car, either in the door compartment or the backseat pocket, and even when she was 2-3, the kid got so she could recognize when she was about to throw up, and we could give her a bag--and she'd puke right into it in her lap.


At home, we could put a garbage can, or more often, a Bilibo rocker, next to the kid's bed, and if she got sick in the middle of the night, she'd often just hang her head over the edge and blow.

But we also got a lot of practice at containment: swooping in and sweeping every piece of clothing or bedding into a garbage bag, and getting it out to the laundry or utility sink or whatever for later. Contain contain contain. Cuz otherwise that goo and those germs just get everywhere.

Without being to Babble about it, what are your most hard-won puke management suggestions? Asking for a cousin. And if you have any overlooked tips for my clan not coming down with the pukes before our 8-hour drive home, I would love to hear it.

image: the classic Playmobil Hazardous Materials Team #3180, which is discontinued


When queasiness comes, remove all dolls and stuffed animals from the premises. Also heirlooms. One night, unbeknownst to us, a babysitter put our daughter to bed with a hand-made heirloom quilt from a family member (which we kept over a chair as a decoration). Also unbeknownst to us, she had a sour tummy. You know the rest.

On the rebound from tummy trouble, gatorade or 7-up is easier on the stomach that water, says our pediatrician. I agree.

Don't put them to bed in the top of a bunk bed, no matter how much they want to be there. It greatly increases the affected area, when dropped from a height. Ewww.

When the kids were very little (under 4) we'd put them to bed on top of large towels when they were sick. Very absorbent, easy to change out after an episode.


I dunno, I'm the puker in this family. My husband is the designated cleaner-upper.

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