How Long Do Germs Live?

by Janice

Some of you know that Susan (the other half of 5 Minutes for Mom) had a terrible stomach flu this past week, and somehow – miracles of miracles – Jackson and I escaped. This is quite incredible considering the bug seemed to be from Julia’s birthday party last week.

24 hours after the party, in homes all over our little suburb, a number of our friends and their little ones started vomiting. But not us. Making it even more surprising that we didn’t get sick, Jackson was over at Sue’s having birthday cake that night just hours before the retching began. (It doesn’t appear to be food poisoning as it has jumped to members of the families not present at the party.)

Anyway, my sibling-less son is begging to go see Julia, pleading, “Please Mommy – I want the pukies now – please can I have the pukies, please…” – as if I am withholding some fantastic toy. But he is not the one that has to clean up said “pukies.”

But ladies, if you knew me well, you would know that the one thing I fear most, next to labor, is the stomach flu. I really, really don’t like it.

So, although they are getting better over there the ban on going to Susan’s house is still up and holding for a few more days. I figure I need to give the germs at least a week after symptoms subside to let go of their stranglehold on the house. (You can only clean so much – toys etc can’t all be disinfected.)

Call me crazy sure – but hey – if you can avoid it why not try? And before you tell me that germs are everywhere etc…I know! I am just saying when I know a germ is there, why not skip it.

So – the question to you is: How germ-crazy are you? Do you worry about playing at a house that had the stomach flu three days before? Am I the only nut out there?



Email Author    |    Website About Janice

Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at janicecrozephotography.com.

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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gibee May 16, 2006 at 4:53 am

I actually never thought of this… I guess if they had just started with the flu, I would avoid the house at all cost. But if they have had it for a while, I guess I’d go. I don’t know!

But, I will say this… your OCD of washing hands seems to have paid off!!!

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2 Sally Stringer July 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Does anybody know have a link to any research or any scientific studies on germs or do you all make this up?

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3 Sandra May 16, 2006 at 7:09 am

I’m not really worried about germs, I’m one of those that say “Germs are everywhere” LOL Sorry!!!

But yes, if I know someone JUST came down with a stomach flu or something else contagious then yes, I stay away, why deliberately go looking for trouble right?

If they’ve had it for a while, I would go. Way I see it, I am going to get it another time anyway, it’s inevitable LOL

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4 Diane May 16, 2006 at 8:20 am

Back, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, my children were toddlers! :) I remember feeling just awful when my friend told me to bring my kids to her house–and play with her child who had the chicken pox…so they would get them! Imagine that! After talking with several other people–who also thought this was a good idea (you know–get the pox over with before school and all)….I couldn’t do it! So–one had the chicken pox in Kindergarten, the other in 1st grade. My third child (who was born modern day America) was immunized.

I have a tough time volunteering or soliciting infections, viruses, or the like. I understand completely the need to wait just a little longer. However, aren’t most infections (etc.) most contagious before the actual outbreak?

Diane

“the pukies!” LOL

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5 Jess May 16, 2006 at 12:09 pm

Oh my goodness, you’re not alone!! I think I fall under the “neurotic” category when it comes to germs. I’ve been razzed about “still using my Clean Shopper” because “she’s not a baby anymore”. Since when are germs discriminatory? NEVER! I wipe down all public surfaces: shopping carts, restaurant tables & chairs, you name it. I’ve even had some parents say its okay for their child to play with Sophia even though she’s actively sick. Odd… I will never volunteer to expose my child to “cooties” for the sake of a playdate or Mommy-time. I know “germs are everywhere”, but that doesn’t mean I have to bring them home with me.

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6 Janice May 16, 2006 at 5:10 pm

So great to hear everyone’s different perspectives!

I have been a “black sheep” with my husband’s family because of my concern about germs. My MIL who is a nurse, simply does NOT get sick and they all can’t understand this little sickly, germ freak that has entered their family. But with a chronic illness, I have to be as careful as possible about what I put my body through.

It is funny though how having kids forces you to relax a bit. As Jackson has gotten older and now attends preschool and daycare, so much is out of my control. That is why I stress handwashing in our family and just avoid the germs and flus that I do have some control over. (I remember when Jackson was an infant and literally cringing when his snotty nosed cousins tried to kiss him. I have eased up though- not by choice but be necessity.)

Thanks for your thoughts ladies – and I hope you don’t think I am too weird! LOL

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7 Lisa May 17, 2006 at 9:49 am

You are not crazy! I go crazy when I hear the stomach flu is going around and clean everything I possibly can and pray desperately to escape it. I don’t worry to much about a cold or flu going around, but the stomach flu is terrible.

I have serious fainting spells when I catch it so it’s really scary for me.

Stand your ground with your son. I’m sure he’d rather not have to go to the doctor and get a shot right?

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8 Margaret November 24, 2006 at 12:46 pm

I am EXACTLY the same as you… staying CLEAR of the pukies (lol) LONG after the germs are gone!!! I have a girlfriend whose daughter has a virus now and is having a bday party next week…. i’m already planning my reasons for not going!!!!

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9 Leia March 5, 2007 at 8:16 pm

I am glad I am not alone! I Lysol and GermX like mad! When my kids get home from school, they know to go to the GermX. I had a friend who’s child had the stomach flu three days before my sons birthday party. I told her she didnt need to come if they were sick, she assured me all was well. YEP! You guessed it. The one time I elt my guard down, my 1 year old had it three days later, then my husband. I have scrubbed and disinfected everything. I am hoping myself and the other two kids dont get it. Next time I am telling her she CANT come instead of leaving it up to her. Sickness is not a big deal to her.

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10 Cathy March 13, 2007 at 7:06 pm

I totally agree with the you and avoiding the pukies!!!! I’m a mother of two and know the horrors of the stomach bug. If you can avoid it..by all means do! :) I”m also the queen of lysol and antibacterial lotions. My hubby just came down with a nasty bug. We all survived without getting it thank god..sanatizing goes along way..

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11 Diana August 30, 2007 at 5:44 pm

I do the same thing! If you know the germs are still “fresh” then why not try to avoid them. My friend makes a game out of it. When someone is sick they put a “Quarantine” sign on the bedroom door. Everyone where’s a mask if they have to enter the room and they wash their hands like crazy!

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12 sabrina November 6, 2007 at 3:05 pm

I am sooo glad there are others like me. I can’t stand the stomach virus. I don’t care about the flu or colds. I just can’t stand to watch my kids be so sick and throwing up. I don’t like to have it, either. We had someone putting in new floors, and she got sick and threw up in our bathroom (her daughter had it the day before.) How RUDE!!!!!! We didn’t go home for two days. My husband went home and Lysoled four times before we (me and the kids) would go home. Luckily, noone got it. We GermX like crazy, also. I panic anytime someone mentions having the virus or their kids having it.

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13 Laura December 5, 2007 at 11:56 am

Oh my gosh, just this past weekend, My husband and my 3 kids all got the stomach flu all at the same time, it was almost scarey, and to make matters worse, the weather was soo bad, we had a ice storm and heres my family all puking, kids were puking in bowls, my 9 month old puking and diareah, my husband was on the toilet and had it coming out of both ends so he sat and held a trash can and i am running around cleaning up, cleaning out bowls for the next rounds and using lysol like crazy and scrubbing my hands, anyway, my hsuband had got so dehydrated, he passed out on the floor and i had to call 911 cause i couldnt take him to the hospital myself with bad roads and 3 other sick kids! it was a total nightmare and i am horrified i will get this, its been 5 days almost and so far i am out of the woods but im sure since i just said this i will get it. Anyway, i think the only thing that saved me was the fact i take a multi vitiman and an additonal 500 mg vitiman c tab each day and wash my hands constantly! till they crack and bleed! anyway, my husband by the way had to get 3 bags of fluid in a IV he was that bad. WHen the flu comes around, i get so worked up tot he fact I actually think oh my god, im getting it, i just know i am, i feel like crap. I feel like a walking time bomb!I agree with those of you that wait forever to let your kids go around families that have had it. I still am refusing hugs, kisses, and refuse to share anything with my family as in drinks, bites of food… anything. So i am with you all. I would rather give birth than get this, cause when i get it, its horrible, i usually vomit for like 12 hours straight and then basically am so dried up and i sleep for like 3 days afterwards but I am a mom and we dont get sick days! and who will take care of me?!! anyway, i feel all your pain!

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14 Emma February 12, 2008 at 4:53 am

oh my goodness, I’m glad I’m not the only one who is terrified of getting the stomach flu. Like all of you, I don’t care about getting a cold, but puking is the worst thing ever. I’d rather have a broken arm. My brother stared puking about 24 hours ago, he stopped more than 12 hours ago and I still haven’t gotten it. I’m terrified that I might still. I thought that once he stopped puking, I’d be fine, but I’ve been reading on some sites that it can take up to a week for all the germs to go away. So I’m really scared right now. My bedroom is next to his and I’ve had my window cracked open a little bit since I found out he was sick. I also take vitamin C once a day and a mulitvitamin, so I’m hoping this all works for me, the vitamins and the fresh air.

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15 Nick February 12, 2008 at 10:23 pm

I just wanted to give a helpful tip to all those people like me who will do anything to keep from throwing up. Norovirus, THE virus that causes vomiting in adults (Rotavirus is the one that causes it in kids more of the time but not nearly as much in adults) IS NOT KILLED BY MOST DISINFECTANTS. Ammonia-based, Alcohol based, anti-microbial soap do not work. The only ones that DO kill it are chlorine bleach based products. You can either use bleach mixed with water (1/2cup per gallon I believe is the ratio) or by something like Clorox clean-up with bleach in it. If someone has it in your house, it doesn’t hurt to disinfect the toilet, sink, faucets, and doorknobs and other hard surfaces that can take bleach that get touched a lot. Happy Battles!

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16 Janet February 16, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Its good to hear I’m not the only fanatical mommy out there! My son, husband and in-laws are just getting back to normal after a nasty stomach virus this week. I have been little miss OCD girl washing my hands constantly, carrying hand sanitizer in one hand and a can of lysol in another! I have cleaned the entire house just about from top to bottom, but after that last entry it sounds like I will be cracking out the rubber gloves and a gallon of bleach momentarily. I agree with everyone here…there is nothing worse than a stomach bug! I’d rather take a good hard “whooping” than have to suffer through that or see any of my family members dealing with it. I am the ultimate germaphobe, but now that I have a toddler, that phobia has gotten out of hand. Somebody help me!

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17 Kari February 17, 2008 at 8:29 pm

I’m with all of you with hating the stomach flu. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband and friends that love me even when I seem like I’m crazy because of this phobia. I could care less about colds or even any kind of vomiting that comes from other things, but if it’s the stomach flu, it creates high anxiety inside of me. I have relaxed a little bit over the years as my children have grown older and they seem to catch it less and less. However, I still cannot handle feeling sick at all myself. I do use Clorox Clean up to disenfect my home if it hits and I have always been a compulsive hand washer. I worried that I would make my children have this phobia because of my fear, but they seem to be much less worried about it. In fact, my son truly believes that his body will heal itself on it’s own and he’s only 11. Maybe someday, my fear will go away, but in the meantime, I’m content being perfectly imperfect and if it wasn’t vomit that I was afraid of it would be something else like snakes or heights. LOL
P.S. You’re not along and I’m so glad that I’m not either.

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18 DIE BUG DIE OMPA LOOMPA March 6, 2008 at 2:14 pm

People that say germs are everywhere and don’t clean say that till they get sick then watch their tone change. People like that are invasion body snatcher spreaders.

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19 Amy March 9, 2008 at 1:41 pm

AHH yes I am a complete and over the top germaphobe. I never was until I had children and then my son was sooo sick the first year. I could not stand watching him suffer. Now I am a freak!!! We absolutley do not go to public play areas(GROSS) They are disgusting.I cant imagine people actually putting thier kids in these thing like they are doing them a favor. We do not go to friends houses if they have been sick. I take purell everywhere and will never put my child in a nasty shopping cart(ICK)> I shop late atr night to aviod all the ignorant people who think it is ok to come out with a raging cold or flu.. Its completley rude and thoughtless. Since then we have been relativley happy family with very little illness. We play outside, take walks have pincics. I have learned how to have fun with htem without all the going to all the places that are just filthy germie. You are not alone. Why expose them. for those who say we are OCD. I have to disagree I think its nothing but a good dose of common sense that most people lack.

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20 Pam March 24, 2008 at 6:01 pm

My hubby just called me to tell me his boss is off sick today with the stomach flu. He plans on returning to the office tomorrow! I begged my hubby please DON’T GO tomorrow. I am scared to death of the flu. I am a diabetic and every time I get the stomach flu I end up in the hospital because of dehydration. It is the horrible. Fortunately my hubby is pretty good and cleans up after the kids when the get it. I try to steer clear of everyone until it is all over and then I go crazy cleaning, but I still always seem to pick it up at the end. Has anyone heard whether wearing a mask helps?

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21 DrEric April 1, 2008 at 9:15 am

I am a little concerned for this group, germs live from a few hours to a few weeks, or forever depending on what it is. But most have moved in within a day.

The concern that i have, however, is the germaphobia present. Everytime you see a situation where a “party” gets sick, there is something to be learned from the fact that a percentage get sick. And it has NOTHING to do with who washed their hands the most, or who was around the virus.

EVERYONE was in contact with the virus! It takes little more than ten minutes of social interaction to spread a virus to everyone. It is on your hands, has likely reached your mouth and very, very likely entered your lungs.

What everyone does not have, is a strong immune system, the one thing that really matters in this equation. Each of your immunity is different and unique as well, in that some will have a very strong mucous layer of antibodies in the nasal passage, others will be stronger in their intestinal flora and more resistant to viruses that enter the gut.

Don’t be a germaphobe, be passionate about strengthening your immune system, it will reduce your risk of other disease too.

I know it is far from what you are used to, but there have been many current researches who have said the germ theory is a very smal piece of why we get sick, if it worked as we had thought originally, the whole population would already be dead.

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22 lorraine June 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm

I am just as bad as you, if not worse. I found your post because I was looking up how long is the period before you are in the all clear for this kind of thing. Hubby was sick 3 nights ago, we have no idea if it’s a bug or food poisoning, but I haven’t slept for 3 nights as I’m so worried the rest of us will get it – that will do wonders for my immune system!

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23 Charlie Fairland June 10, 2008 at 12:19 am

How about people that are clueless to the wrechedness of their cold sores!! Touching them constantly and then touching everything around them! That’s what I’m googling, how long does that kind of life long virus live?? Our house guest was fingering her cold sore and then picked up a piece of dropped baby finger food and popped it in my baby’s mouth!! I just about died! Was my baby forever infected in that moment?? Does anyone have any real information about the contageousness of mouth herpes?? My skin is crawling……! I have not found any real info on the ease of spreading this virus…

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24 Megan M June 13, 2008 at 3:42 am

Oh my gosh, I finally found some people like me!! I am deathly scared of the stomach flu. I have no idea why or what started this fear, but I have feared throwing up since I was 5 years old. I don’t remember anything traumatic happening before 5, but everyone thinks I am completely nuts! So, It is almost 3 in the morning, I haven’t slept b/c my boyfriend is in the other room with the stomach flu! I sprayed lysol throughout the entire condo and wiped clorox pads on everything we touch! I am so worried that I am going to get it it is making me crazy! I don’t know what to do, I just wanna jump out the window and run away!!!

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27 sue c July 24, 2008 at 9:02 pm

hi im the same i have emetophobia and its getting worse my twin boys threw up within days of each other i am so panicking that i will get it im scared i cant eat or sleep keep popping anti sick tablets luckly i have a brill boyfriend who looks after kids when ill and cleans up cos i cant do it or go near them which is bad i feel like a useless mother but my fear is so bad that i end up having panic attack i wish i could get rid of this fear i hate it

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28 nicola kite August 19, 2008 at 6:54 pm

i’m so glad i read this my friends and hubby have been telling me i have a massive problem and i should see someone, my kids and inlaws have just had a sickness bug and i am beside my self.. i also am not sleeping thru worrying if i’m going to wake up in the night throwing up and have started staying up later and later..i’d really like to know when i can start relaxing again and realise i’m not likely t get it, the last person to be sick in my house was my son on sunday night, it’s now late tues night

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29 laura September 21, 2008 at 8:04 am

IM SO GLAD OTHER PEOPLE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM AS ME. my friend was sick at school twice and came in even though she had a stomach bug. some people stepped in it without realising an im convinced the school is completely contaminated. Ive been terrified since that i will get it, ive looked at the internet loads to see how i can avoid it but so far all i can find is if you get you get it.

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30 Jessica October 30, 2008 at 2:17 pm

hello-same problem here…it has always always been horrible for me-but a million times worse when my 1 year old son got the bug…worst experience ever and I still suffer from the trauma of the bug from 2 years ago-so much that I went to the Dr and he had to prescribe me Xanax to calm my panic attacks from the worrying about getting the bug. And now it is fall again and it has already been around here in MD—

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31 Ashley December 10, 2008 at 3:50 am

What drives me nuts is when family are sick and they still insist on kissing and touching my child and then their kids do the same thing! When I’m aware of someone being sick, I stay away. I had visited my cousin’s family 8 months ago and after their child had been kissing all over my daughter (even on the lips, none the less) they mentioned how sick she had been and had just been to the E.R. BUT thank god the medicine was in her system long enough, my daughter didn’t get sick. I have the type of family that you just cannot tell them you don’t want them to do something, because then I’m the horrible person. I just prefer when people “Keep their sick germs, to themselves” But in the last few years, I’ve heard about thier children ALWAYS having some kind of sickness. I’ve stopped visiting them since and my daughter is now 1 year old and they’ve only seen her 3 times. I take illness seriously, any illness can become severe and require hospitalization. I’m not really a germ-a-phobe unless I know someone is sick. My daughter is now 1 and just had her first cold last month, that’s a pretty good run, isn’t it.

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32 Ashley December 10, 2008 at 3:52 am

The only way to avoid it is to be conscious about where you are and what you’re touching and wash, wash, wash your hands for 30 seconds every time.

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33 Trisha December 11, 2008 at 11:46 am

I thought I was the only one in the world who felt like this. My husband was sick yesterday & I did everything I knew to do to stay away from the germs (and also my 2 yr old daughter.) As soon as he told me he was sick, I had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I am convinced that I am going to get it and it scares me to death (so much so I slept on the couch last night.) Thanks for sharing your stories…..it makes me feel like I’m not completely crazy for feeling this way.

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34 Janice M December 21, 2008 at 4:23 pm

I can identify with all of you. I don’t care about colds, but when I hear the stomach flu is going around, I’m immediately on edge. My 8 yr. old daughter just got over a horrible stomach flu (she ended up in the ER) so I’ve been cleaning like crazy. I wish more people were like us, careful not to contaminate everyone around them.

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35 Stefanie December 23, 2008 at 7:49 pm

I hate getting the stomach flu! Thanksgiving break I caught it and threw up all night. I have been so scared of this virus for the last 3 years and I’m a Lysol freak! My family thinks I’m crazy for telling them to wash their hands all the time. I don’t care because I would rather have cracked hands than be sick. I would take a cold over the stomach crap any day. I’m praying we don’t catch it again this year or anytime in the future!!!

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36 Melissa December 27, 2008 at 2:14 am

this is amazing! my bf threw up a few hours ago and I’m sleeping in a sep. room, washing my hands like crazy and not using the toilet for 24 hours. So far, so good. He had dirrahea for a few days (nothing horrible) then ate a bunch of greasy pizza and then threw up so I’m hoping it was just the pizza and not the flu!

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37 Stefanie December 28, 2008 at 10:37 pm

I just posted before Christmas and guess what? My husband and my mother-in-law caught this a couple of days after Christmas Eve!! I hope me and the kids aren’t next! Awful stuff.

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38 Jenn December 31, 2008 at 10:09 am

I just want to say that this is a very real phobia, it is called Emetophobia and it is treatable. Go see your doctor, you may have to see a psychologist, you may be prescribed some sort of medication(likely an anti-anxiety). For those of you who feel bad because people think you are crazy or feel like a bad mom, don’t. Everyone has their crutch, yours just happens to be a very real phobia. It is the fifth leading phobia in the world. Now, how do I know all this, because I too suffer from a severe phobia of vomitting. I am currently on the edge of my seat praying that I don’t become ill, my daughter was sick Saturday night, my husband sick Monday night and now it’s Wednesday(New Years Eve nonetheless) and I’m hoping if I make it to tenish, I’ll be pretty much out of the proverbial woods. Most stomach viruses take 10-48 hours to show symptoms. My daughter wasn’t too sick, but for 5 hours my husband was wretchedly ill. I slept on the couch wearing earplugs. Then on Tuesday, I wiped everything down with a Bleach solution, lysol everything, even soaking dishes in bleach solution, I also washed all the sheets and blankets he used and she used and put them in a very hot drier. So here’s hoping. I fear it so bad that I would rather just about anything else, cold or influenza, chicken pox, strep, you name it. None of you are alone. I’ve realized through reading these sights that neither am I and after the hoidays I’m going to my doctor to see if I can get some help. This is ruining my life, I worry always(just the stomach stuff). I’ve been afraid of vomitting since I was little kid, and it just keeps getting worse. Megan M. you are hilarious, jump out a window(it’s funny cause I get it). I wanted to sleep in my car the other night, in the middle of winter, now that makes sense.

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39 Bec January 3, 2009 at 7:18 pm

These comments are great, I am a vomit-o-phobe too… mom of 3 and expecting #4 so, most peoples’ attitude toward me is, I better just get over my germophobia!! I don’t have a problem cleaning or holding the bucket if kids are throwing up, but am terrified of contracting stomach flu myself… always have been. My husband was a puker as a kid, and got so used to it that it’s no big deal for him and he is pretty relaxed about the stomach virus. My answer to him is, he’s not the one who has to stay home all day with barfing kids, I am!! So I am def. not as relaxed!! What does help me to be more relaxed is having good measures in place ie, in the bedrooms… kids’ mattresses and pillows are always covered with waterproof pads/pillow covers under the sheets that way if they do (and they do!) throw up in the middle of the nite, I know cleanup only involves the bed linens not the whole pillow or mattress… and I have spare mattress/pillow covers and “barf” towels all stocked and ready in the upstairs closet for these occasions. It kind of makes me feel like we are “ready for battle” if the flu hits. I had the same question as someone else here, does wearing a mask help while cleaning vomit or standing near a barfing kid?? I don’t know. My daughter recently had it, plus my 3 kids have passed pinkeye around 2x already, so I am like NUTS to clean everything. I couldn’t figure out how to clean all the non washable plush toys/dolls till the other day, read you could freeze them in plastic bag in the freezer. we live in CT and it is going down to 17 degrees tonite, so I’m bagging up the plushies and OUT THEY GO for 12 hours to kill germs. The hard toys I’ll spray with clorox spray. Any other suggestions are welcome… but hey I agree with all of you the stomach bug is AWFUL esp. with little kids and WHY GO NEAR IT AT ALL IF NOT NECESSARY?? YUCK

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40 Summer January 13, 2009 at 3:42 pm

I’m so glad I’m not alone.

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41 Karen Robinson January 25, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Just to let you know I have the same fear of being sick. I found out that it is an actual phobia – called Ametophobia – have a look at it on the internet – you are not alone. I tried hypnotherapy and it was excellent. Don’t let this problem rule your life, it ruled mine for a long time.

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42 Lydia March 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm

I’m glad I’m not alone. I’m in therapy right now since I’m so freaked out about getting the norovirus. My daughter brought it home from daycare and I got seriously sick (ended up losing 80lbs because it screwed up my gallbladder). Is it even possible not to catch it even if the rest of the household has it?

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43 Sabrina January 30, 2009 at 9:36 am

Yes, it’s called Emetophobia, and it is a VERY REAL FEAR! I’m from Connecticut, but I’m living with my boyfriend and his family in Australia, and so far, it’s been an extremely hot summer here. I thought I was safe from the dreaded stomach flu. Unfortunately, just a few days ago, my boyfriend’s brother started puking, and has been for the last 4 days. I’M FREAKING OUT! I’ve barely left my bedroom in days. I’m terrified of using the bathroom for fear that if I even breathe in, I’ll either get the bug, or at the very least, smell or see the vomit, which is almost just as bad. I feel so awful because I know my boyfriend’s brother notices that I’m avoiding him like the plague, but I can’t help it. I literally sat in my bedroom, in 109 degree heat (I kid you not), crying my eyes out because I’m so terrified I’m going to get sick or my boyfriend’s going to get sick. I haven’t even KISSED my boyfriend because I’m so afraid. I just thank GOD I’m not alone in this.

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44 joey February 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I have the exact same phobia about getting sick! its almost crippling at times and suffer with terrible panic attacks when i know someone who’s got the dreaded bug! funnily enough I finally came down with it last night after the rest of my family had it, luckily not been as bad with it as the rest of them. but scared to eat now incase im sick again. even though its been about 11 hours since i was last sick! I managed to dodge the bugs for many years, normally were not a sickly family but my sister now has little kids and they do pick up everything going round! my sister doesnt like to be alone when she’s ill and rudely comes over! not impressed with this!

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45 lovebug February 6, 2009 at 3:18 pm

so glad i found all of you – my family thinks i am nuts!! i need to go talk to someone – this fear is real and is taking over my life! i cannot even bear to touch my own kids when they have it. i want to just stay at a hotel!

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46 michelle February 18, 2009 at 6:16 am

well thank god i am not alone.this fear has been consuming me i have spent a day with my friend and her baby. at the end of the day, my friend tells me her baby has gastro. i am furious, and overwhelmed by fear that my little one will now have caught it. i havent even had dinner for fear of waking up in the night sick.

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47 Annie February 18, 2009 at 10:41 pm

The stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis) is the second most common illness in the United States. It is so common because most people have no idea where they got the stomach flu or how they could possibly give it to someone else. I have made it my mission to promote awareness of stomach flu facts. I believe that if people were educated about the stomach flu including how it is spread and how long they are contagious, we would not all have to get it so often. I put a wealth of information on my website http://www.stopthestomachflu.com. Please read it and send it to your friends. Hopefully, they will learn not to come visit you again when someone has the stomach flu!

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48 Cathy February 27, 2009 at 6:37 pm

I am just getting over the stomach “MONSTER”! I was laid up for five days! Sicker than ever. Fortunately my husband and girls haven’t gotten it. I washed, scrubbed and disenfected ever inch of my home. I’m exhausted from the bug and exhausted from cleaning lol. I hear you all! Germaphobe all the way!

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49 alondra April 1, 2009 at 3:53 pm

just this past week my hole family had viral gastrinitis from my 16mth old my 9 yr old myself and my hubby, then the sad part my cousin was here with her 18 mth old they both got it and was staying at her parents house and they got it, and to top all this off my girlfriend stopped by for about ten minutes and her and her husband and 2 boys now have it…i feel like a idiot and so bad, i know its not my fault but i still feel bad…both of my kids were in the hospital and i thought i was dying, heres my questions though my 16mth old never had a problem with her eating and its been 5 days since she has felt better and all she will eat is breakfast, she refuses to eat lunch or dinner, she will snack on cheerios and wants chocolate which i will not give her…..but whats the deal why wont she it?? its scares me, i mean she drinks alot and has her bottles but only eating 1 time a day and snacking on cheerios is not enough for her. shes playing and happy and having fun but wont eat, does anyone have any answers for me….anything will help, thank you.. heres my email please let me know something, alondra.johns@yahoo.com

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50 Dawn May 31, 2009 at 5:44 pm

YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. I carry wet ones all the time. I insist my family wash there hands before touching food. When I feel someone including myself coming down I boost us up with Vitamin C. I have been know to take lysol wipes to the grocery store for the cart. I panic when see my son touching the carts then wanting to eat pop corn in the store. When I worked in a store, I would keep my hand cleaner close by and I would wipe down the phones with lysol wipes. I should have stock in the lysol wipes, they are great but I know I go to extremes.

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51 Luciana Johnston July 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm

No!! I don’t think you are crazy!!! I am a self proclaimed germophobe and quite frequently have been known to boycott family and friends when there are viruses running amuck. I am all about avoiding it when I know about it and taking every step to prevent contamination at all other times…some call me crazy…I don’t care!

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52 Cory August 2, 2009 at 4:34 am

I am 16 years old and thankfully I have not had the stomach bug since December 2006 but I still wash my hands like freakin crazy just to prevent this bug. I especially try to prevent the bug because my mom runs a home daycare!! Every time I hear that somebody in my family is sick or one of my mom’s daycare kids is sick I literally freak out. Infact, I sleep in the basement and not upstairs because I am so scared of being close to somebody’s bedroom when they are puking all over the place.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND NEITHER AM I!! People do need to be more careful, if somebody has a stomach virus, they need to stay in their room and bathroom area for the entire day. End of story.

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53 Hanny August 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Its comforting to know that i am not the only one, i was unaware it had a name for the phobia. I have been like this since i vwry young, my mum and dad used to try and hide the fact that anyone in the house had been sick ?( very hard seeing as i am the oldest of six!!) They knew i would freak out!! Now i am 26 and a mother of a four year old and its still as bad. any sign of sick im panicing, i work as a nursery nurse and any sign of sick there i freeze its the only aspect of the job i dont love. I try not to breath around people who i know i have been ill, i wash my hands no joke 100 times a shift.If anyone is sick near me i have panic attacks, block my ears and all but hide. Its got to a point where i dont eat, i hardly sleep and feel probably worse than if i had it!! i am already on anxiety tablets for other issues….. some people find it funny but it is turning out to be a serious life destroying worry.

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54 Chris December 24, 2009 at 10:46 am

Stomach Flu???
There’s no such thing, you lot are all bananas,
I’m glad the English don’t worry about the common cold, we just get on with it.
You can’t avoid colds, you can’t catch them outside and what’s the point in trying when your kids are in a school full of hundreds of other kids in a warm environment where germs are easily passed.
How many people actually got colds 30 years ago, before all of these “magic” cleaning and sanitary products.
We seem to be raising a generation of babies now.

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55 Mary December 30, 2009 at 6:36 pm

I have been afraid of vomiting my entire life! If I ever feel sick I go to
all lengths to keep myself from vomiting. My boyfriend went home Friday for a few hours for Christmas and then came down to my family’s house layer that evening. Well, Saturday night/Sunday he began getting sick with the bug. And he was done vomiting by early sunday morning and all better by Monday morning. Several of his family members also got sick. It is now wednesday night and I still haven’t gotten sick, but I still feel like I’m not out of the water. I know that you usually get sick within 48 hours of exposure, but I also know that the person who was sick can be contagious for days after symptoms subside and the germs can linger around for a while. So, I’ve been eating lightly and sleeping with one eye open and probably will for a few more days. This sucks!

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56 Jen January 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm

So glad I found somewhere to vent with like minded individuals!! I have an INTENSE fear of vomiting. It used to be debilating to a point. I have gotten better but when I hear that someone has a stomach bug, virus or flu(whatever they call it) I immediately start to feel sick and scared. I am a HUGE germophobe. Wash and GermX like crazy. Sunday night my littlest (3yo) started puking, then diarrhea Monday. Tuesday night, my next little guy(4yo) started puking, then diarrhea. Yesterday my 8 yo daughter started (not as bad as the boys, thankfully but still BAD), now today my husband had to come home sick from work. He is REALLY bad. I am so scared to death. My oldest 11yo daughter and I are like sitting ducks. I am totally freaking out here. Wearing my mask and my hands are cracked and bleeding. I have cleaned like crazy except for my bedroom and bath where my husband has taken up residence. I feel so bad for him but am scared to go near him. I have been feeling “sick” for days. I pray that my daughter and I get through this unscathed!!

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57 Melanie January 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Finally…so nice to know I am not alone. My son had it starting at 2 a.m. Wednesday; I managed to ward that off and not get it, then my husband shared a drink with my son Saturday a.m. … a time when he was still contagious (I hear 3 days or more after last vomiting you are contagious) even though I told him no sharing, etc. So, after I thought I was in the clear, now my hubby starts with it today, Monday a.m.; now I have to go through another 2-3 days of being neurotic and paranoid! I am so glad to know I am not totally crazy! I hope I don’t get it – I’d hate to have to kill my husband!~

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58 Jaime January 20, 2010 at 11:42 am

I am totally with you. I would avoid someone’s house at all costs for at least 3 days if not more. Some of the viruses that cause the stomach flu can be shed from the infected person for up to two weeks after their symptoms have subsided. The unfortunate thing about the “stomach flu” and the viruses that cause it is that you are contagious even before you show symptoms so you can get it from someone that you had no reason to suspect. That’s also why you can go to a party and no one was sick before but then days later everyone is.

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59 Karen February 1, 2010 at 1:01 am

Nick,

I am Serve Safe Certified in food service. In Missouri, all public food service providers are required to be trained and certified in safe food handling and proper sanitizing.

I am not familiar with all sanitizing agents on the market, so I cannot agree nor disagree with what you said about none of them killing virus’. I CAN, however, agree with your comment about chlorine bleach working the best at killing virus’and bacteria of all kinds. Your measurements were way off though. Bleach is very harmful, if used inappropriately. It was also ruin fabrics with just one drop.

The correct method of dilution of bleach, to be used as a sanitizing agent, is as follows….

1 part per million of bleach, to water. To obtain this balance, simply measure one gallon of very warm water, and add one CAP FULL, or (1 TBLS) of bleach.

Hope this was helpful…especially to your lungs, hands and furntiture! LOL!

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60 Karen February 1, 2010 at 1:19 am

Dear Chris, (December 24, 2009, 10:46 am)

I have noticed two things about people, which seem to be consistent regardless of where they live. Those two things are…

1. None of us wants to get sick. Especially when there is vomitting involved!

2. The people who worry about sanitizing, in an effort to keep their families healthy, are naturally “clean” people, regardless if an illness is present. The people who claim that germs are everywhere and we’re all going to get sick anyway, are people who are, by nature, lazy! They live in dirty houses, year round. They realize that laziness is an unattractive quality, so instead of publicly admitting that they are a pig…they spout off some craziness about germs being everywhere. The normal thinking world is not buying that level of stupidity.

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61 Julie Roper February 1, 2010 at 10:20 am

Its been interesting reading these comments because I am only a step mum and couldnt entertain the thought of having morning sickness while pregnant. So no babies for us. I take anti depressants and anti anxiety tablets and tablets for ocd. Still nothing works. Im going to my doctor to say i want to go on anti sickness pills because I can cope with the “what if”s of getting ill, what if im ill in town, what if i choke, what is someone sees me, what if i cant cope, what if it never ends, what if it replays in my mind over and over again???

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62 emetophobiaforsure. February 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Well, it has been interesting reading all these comments. I am so relieved that I am not alone. I have Emetophobia. I have had it for a long time. Practically my whole life. Last Saturday my fiance woke up puking and I have a panic attack if I know someone is puking so here he is trying to take care of me while sick to his stomach. And then on Monday my brother started throwing up and he passed out from vomiting so much, so of course I had a panic attack again. I didnt hardly sleep or eat for fear of getting this. When anyone has it and I know about it I go into panic attacks. I have never figured out why this happens to me because its not like you die from throwing up. It feels like it’s controling my life and I am so sick of it. Its been about a week since then and I am still kind of freaking out. I don’t want to eat anything major for fear of throwing up. I Lysol everything and wash my hands all the time. I just want to know what conditions that gasteronistis lives in. I wonder when it will die out. I am just so glad that I am not the only one with this. My family thinks I am crazy and to beat it all my fiances mother is a nurse. I jusr can’t seem to get over it. I don’t know what I am going to do when I hav children. Shew, its so aggravating having this phobia. And like everyone else said I would rather have a cold than any type of stomach bug.I just always thought I was the only one with this phobia but thankfully i’m not. The only thing I found that helps is to pray.

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63 Courtney March 1, 2010 at 8:10 pm

I’m so so glad I’m not alone. I have always been extremely afraid of throwing up. When I see or hear someone throwing up or if someone tells me they have the bug or have recently had it I immediately start panicking and start shaking and my heart pounds. Last week my roommate had it, and I didn’t go home for 5 days and made my other roommates sanitize everything in the house before I would come back. My boyfriend just called me and he has it now, and I’m terrified I’m a timebomb and I’m going to start throwing up any hour now. I haven’t thrown up since I was 8, and I’m now 20, which makes it even scarier for me because I forget what it’s like. I know exactly what all of you are talking about because it really feels dibilitating and gets in the way of my life. I’m praying to God I don’t get sick, because I just don’t know what I’ll do. Probably just cry and shake while throwing up, I don’t know.

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64 J March 2, 2010 at 8:44 am

Well yup we are not alone. I have a fear of vomiting plus i used to have the whole OCD thing too!! well that is mostly gone but the fear of vomiting isn’t. I would rather have a 3 day cold each month for the rest of my life, than get the stomach flue once, i am terrified of any illness that can make me vomit. I also work in a small shop, so if anyone gets sick at work i have a heart attack!!! God i dont know what i am going to do when i get a BF or have kids!! whenever someone in the family is sick, i banish myself to my bedroom and only come out to eat, and don’t go near the sick person or let them near me for like a week after they are sick, i am terrible. And when i fiend at school is sick, i avoid them at all costs.

I find it annoying how people will be in your face talking to you, even thought they were sick the day before it is just rude, i mean if you have been sick, stay away. I also find it nnoting how these days everyone shares drinks, i will but a nice coke and befoe i can have any someone will come along and take a big sip from it, so then i have to throw away my drink and waste my money!!!

well anyway, just some advice, there is a difference between a fear and anxiety chances are u have anxiety and should get some help, it rly does work. there are plenty of medications you take and a lot of breathing and relaxing techniques.

i just wish people could forget finding a cure to the cold, and work towards a cure or an immunisation for the stomach flue!!

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65 anngr March 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Seriously, I feel like a crazy person for being obsessed with this, but as many above me have said, I can’t remember NOT being emetophobic. At college people spread germs like its their job and it makes me absolutely crazy! A few years ago I went to my sister’s house with my boyfriend and her husband had had it a few days before, then she and her kids got it while we were there, then my boyfriend got it and was sick for 3 or 4 days. It absolutely horrifies me to even think about throwing up. Now of course it is going around at school and I panic any time someone in a class says they just got over it or if my boyfriend or roommates eat without washing their hands. Ugh! How do I get over this?? I don’t want to spend my life terrified of something that happens all the time!

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66 Karen March 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I am a cleaner for a group of people from the same family, they all had norovirus two weeks ago and I stayed away, now I’m due back to work on Thursday and am making myself ill with worry. I have rubber gloves, bleach etc but I fear the surfaces, how long can this live on taps etc? I have been emetophobic for as long as I remember, three years ago my whole family went down with this, luckily I didn’t, God knows how, I did starve myself for days, it got so bad I actually wanted to kill myself!!
I’ve even though about breaking my arm so I don’t have to go back, stupid yes? But I am so scared, all I can do is go in armed to the teeth with preventetive measures, not stroke their dogs and keep my fingers crossed. People complain about flu, this norovirus scares me more. I’d rather do anything than be sick. This is a BLOODY nightmare!!

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67 karen March 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm

P:S, it’s nice to know I’m not alone..

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68 Angel March 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I’m currently in bed with some type of stomach bug. I also have an intense fear of vomiting…ever since I could remember. It puts me in a total panic. My husband doesn’t know about it. I am so nauseous but I refuse to throw up. It’s too scary! My 2 year old had Diarreha 4 days ago, no vomiting. Then my husband 2 days ago, diarrhea,fatigue and nausea. When I picked up my oldest daughter from school 2 days ago she threw up everywhere in the school parking lot. It clears up quickly everyone is well except for me. I’ve tried to supress my fear as much as possible, however it is still there. Please don’t let the fear of morning sickness keep you from having children. I didn’t have vomiting with my pregnancies. I was told the fear comes from the loss of control that happens when you vomit.

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69 Anne March 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I’m 38 with 2 children….I have lived with this intense fear ALL my life…last year it got so bad that when I took my son to the Dr (with my sister who’s not scared of vomit…because I didn’t want to be left alone to cope with him!) the Doc was more worried about me than my son. I was shaking, pale, anxious and hadn’t slept or eaten for days. (None of us caught it! Incidentally, only once have we all had the SAME bug…the rest of the time it’s one or another, but not all! and I work in a school so risk it daily!). I haven’t been sick for 20 years…but the Doc sent me for CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) which didn’t really work but have since invested in EMDR – which is expensive and doesn’t come ‘free’ on NHS…but it’s worth every penny…the fear has not gone, but I am far calmer, less panicky and it is much, much better…try it! I’ve had lots of sessions and it’s cost over £600, but am gradually feeling more in control, less freaked out by germs and I know that I’d hate it if my children were sick, but I could deal with it….as so rightly pointed out….they feel worse than I do at that moment in time! Also, don’t avoid having kids….I was NEVER sick during pregnancy (though felt it for a while) nor labour….did do labour without drugs for fear of them making me sick (that would be worse than the pain) but epidurals are a wonderful invention! Try it…living without the fear is better than living with the full intensity that I had! It’s the best cure so far, and I’ve tried hypnotherapy in the past (great sleep, but real waste of money!) Good luck everyone…oh, and the book ‘living with OCD’ helps take risks too!
A

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70 Alicia April 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Wow! It is nice to know I am not alone. I am soooooo afraid of vomit/vomiting. I can’t stand to see, hear, smell, or do it. Once I saw where someone had vomited outside a Walmart and I was haunted for DAYS. It was as if the puddle saw me and sent it’s germs to chase me. I barely ate, and didn’t sleep well for fear of waking up sick in the night. That happens every time I hear someone talking about vomit. It can be a stranger at the store who I will never come in contact with talking about someone they know who is sick and I start to panic thinking it will somehow get me. Last winter my family caught it and I was in freak out mode for a week. I actually did get the bug but never threw up because I hadn’t eaten. I lost 10 pounds that week. I remained on high alert for several months after that looking for signs in my kids or myself of the bug returning. I would gladly have a terrible cold once a month rather than throw up ONE time. If I knew I could make that kind of deal with God I would be the happiest girl in the world. To be guaranteed to never throw up again–sheer bliss!!! I hate living like this, but I don’t know how to make it go away. My poor husband is the designated vomit cleaner upper. I hate leaving him hanging, but he would rather deal with it alone than deal with my freaking out on top of it.

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71 Claudia January 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

I am the same way, better to avoid said house of the stomach flu. Some germs can last weeks. I stay away for at least 2/3 weeks to be safe. I Clorox everything I can. I know, to the extreme but if it means avoiding some contagious germ or disease – I’ll do it.

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72 Shell February 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Be very careful of vaccines for rotovirus my now 3 yo ended up in hospital having seizures the first time she had it at 2. It was very very scary .
They examined her afterwards and found nothing wrong with her and my other daughter also caught it and never had a seizure or the vaccine.
So be Leary as they took it off the market then put it back very scary!

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73 Hannah June 25, 2013 at 8:38 am

For those of you who, like me, fear vomiting more than anything else, here are some things I have learned which help me:

Severe vomiting in adults is almost always caused by the Norovirus. This usually lives for 24 hours on hard surfaces, but can live for weeks in carpeted surfaces, for example. The only thing that kills it is bleach solution, and the only thing that can protect you from it is thorough hand washing with soap and warm water (NOT hand sanitizer).

Also of interest is that a certain percentage of the world’s population are naturally immune. This is the most likely explanation for how a whole party can go down with it, save a handful, rather than hand-washing etc.

It does not help to beat yourself up about this phobia. You have it, it is a part of you. Acknowledge the fear and the risk, then move on. Obsessing will only embed the fear in your brain, and make it harder for you to escape.

Excessive hand washing will actually weaken your immune system. By all means, wash your hands carefully while someone in your home is sick, but sanitizing everything everywhere will actually make your child MORE likely to get sick more often as they grow, because their bodies will not be able to cope with germs.

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