Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Return of Norovirus

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
David is out sick today. Based on the symptoms he describes, it sounds like he has a case of Norovirus, which I had the "pleasure" of encountering in February 2017.

The good news for David is that it ought to have run its course by now, or at the latest tomorrow morning.

The bad news is that he's going to be absolutely miserable until then.

Posted here is a recap of my experience, as well as some advice on recovery afterwards.

As I mentioned in earlier, I came down with a stomach bug the last day of MAG40 that left me dehydrated and going at both ends -- often simultaneously.

While I don’t know what it was that I have, my best guess is Norovirus, aka the “Winter Vomiting Bug”. It’s commonly caused by fecal contamination of food, touching a contaminated surface and then your mouth, or directly from another sick person.

Norovirus is a viral buzzsaw that rips through close collections of people, like classrooms or people on cruise ships.

Based on my close, intimate relationship with Norovirus, the biggest problem with it is dehydration. I was desperately thirsty and my mouth was full of cotton, but I couldn’t take more than a few swallows without upsetting my stomach and triggering another vomiting session.

Worse, diarrhea causes an electrolyte imbalance within the body, which in turn creates more diarrhea. In other words, diarrhea is self-perpetuating, so for those who are curious, you can indeed shit yourself to death.

What’s more, after a case of Norovirus the gastrointestinal tract may be severely inflamed, or not used to digesting food, and may need to be re-started. So what’s a prepper to do?

Obligatory disclaimer: I am not a trained health professional, do not take this as strict medical advice, consult your doctor if you have an erection for more than four hours.

First, always have an antidiarrheal medicine, like Immodium AD, in both your bug-out and get-home bags. Heck, after this weekend I’m keeping several doses in my every day carry kit. Oof.

Second, have a way to get electrolytes back into your system. Since you’re trying to prevent dehydration at the same time, the best way to do that is through liquids. I’m a big fan of Gatorade, but any sport drink will do, as will Pedialyte for children and of course regular old water. You can also buy packages of oral rehydration salts from Amazon -- just mix them with clean water and you’re good to go. They’re light enough that you could fit them into any bug out or get home bag.

There are however some liquids to avoid:
  • Milk, because while you may not normally be lactose intolerant, your digestive tract may not be able to process milk in your weakened state.
  • Alcohol and caffeine, because both of these substances also contribute to dehydration and would only make things worse.
  • Excessively sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices, because while sugar is important in electrolyte solutions, too much has the opposite effect. Avoid any liquid that has more than 3% sugar in it.
  • Don’t use artificial sweeteners, either, as those often have a laxative effect.
Third, when it comes time to eat -- and it may be days before you want to think about food -- it’s best to start small. There’s something called the BRAT diet - Bananas, rice, applesauce, toast - which is supposed to be easy on sensitive guts. Other foods which are good for recovering digestive tracts are oatmeal, boiled potatoes, plain crackers, and baked chicken without skin or fat. You’ll notice that a lot of these ingredients are in that universal antidote, chicken soup.

Preppers ought to consider adding some packages of oatmeal and chicken broth to their bug-out bags, and perhaps some dehydrated bananas as well.

Finally, keep a dark-colored washcloth in your various bags. Don’t use it for regular hygiene of the hands or face; use it just for cleaning “down there.” When the S hits the F, it’s good to have a soft, absorbent, dark-so-it-won’t-stain cloth to clean that S from your body.

1 comment:

  1. For protein that is easily digestible with a very delicate stomach, unflavored gelatin can be added to any hot drink. You can buy it in a box of little envelopes, or you can buy it in a larger bulk container.

    For shelf stable bouillon, the best deal that I can find right now is a 7.9 POUND jar of powdered chicken bouillon by Knorr for $13 on Amazon. I don't know about the rest of y'all but when I'm that sick "add powder to a cup of hot water" is about all I'm up for.


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