What to Do When EVERYONE Gets Sick

What to Do When EVERYONE Gets Sick

It’s no fun when mama gets sick. Let’s face it: mamas carry the mental load of the household, making sure everyone gets what they need when they need it. When mama is down, there is always a decent chance the ship sinks with her. But you know what is exponentially worse? When EVERYONE in the house gets sick at the same time - and I know this from personal experience. Memories are seared into my brain forevermore of the time when my husband, 10-year-old, 4-year-old, and 1 year old ALL contracted norovirus within hours of each other. I’ll spare you the wretched details, but it. Was. Horrendous.

I can’t say it was the worst experience of my life because that is a heavy statement. But I can say that if I live to be a hundred years old, I will never forget those 2-3 days. Here’s how we survived (and you can too!):


  1. Call for reinforcements! Listen, I am not a person who readily asks for help. It is actually stupidly difficult for me to ask for help. But if there is ever a time that you MUST ask for help, it is definitely when everyone in your household is sick. Reach out to whoever is in your network – friends, family, neighbors – it doesn’t matter. Now is the time to call in those favors. Ask for what you need, and you’d be surprised how willing people are to help you! Sure, you may not want to invite people into your germ factory, but there are lots of other ways people can help you! Need the lawn mowed? Ask. Need ginger ale/cough syrup/takeout meals/Lysol wipes delivered to your door while you peek out and wave? Ask. Think it might help to borrow someone’s dehumidifier? Ask. When we were all violently ill, my dad left a bag of ginger ale, Pedialyte, and ibuprofen on our doorstep – and I decided I could hang on a little longer.

If you are new to town, or don’t know who you can call for help, check out who in your area delivers! Our local grocery store (Kroger) delivers, and Door Dash will deliver from convenience stores, as well as restaurants. Some vendors even offer a free trial, which    you can cancel later! Even Amazon might be able to fulfill some of your needs in one day or less.


  1. Do your best to stay comfortable. In our family’s “norovirus incident”, it honestly worked the best to blow up air mattresses in the bathroom – that's how sick our little ones were. It was easier clean-up to just lay close to the toilets with iPads than it was to lay in our beds. If your family is not ill with a stomach virus, however, you might find it more comfortable for every family member to lay in their own beds or on the couch together. Now is not the time to worry about screen time, mama; you just have to survive. If you have to watch every episode of Bluey thrice, you will be no worse for the wear. Sleep when you can; watch movies when you can’t.


  1. Keep track of your (and your children’s) symptoms. Make sure that you reach out to a physician when needed. Most medical offices now offer telehealth visits, which can often meet your needs! If you or your child begins to show concerning symptoms, get to an emergency room or urgent care immediately. Chest pain, confusion, difficulty breathing, and extremely high fevers all warrant immediate medical attention. Also note that dehydration is a very real concern for people with a stomach virus – especially the youngest ones. If you’re concerned about dehydration, seek medical advice immediately.


  1. Once you have recovered, clean, clean, clean! If you’ve gone through a full-household illness once, you won’t ever want to do it again. Diffuse thieves oil, wipe down hard surfaces in your home, and boil your toothbrushes in hot water (or buy new ones). Wash all the towels and sheets. You might even consider giving toys and stuffed animals a good washing.


Follow these tips and you WILL survive a full-household illness, mama. It will be terrible and awful and you will remember it always, but you will come out on the other side. What would you add to this list?!

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