Welcome to Stop The Stomach Flu

Stomach Flu Facts:
  • Symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea. It is caused by viruses. (Norovirus, Sapovirus, and rotavirus are common culprits.) It is viral gastroenteritis and is not related to influenza (the real flu). "Stomach flu" is just a nickname. The flu shot does not protect against the stomach flu.
  • Sometimes referred to as “stomach virus”, “norovirus”, “stomach bug”, “24 hour bug”, “stomach flu”, “intestinal virus”, and “winter vomiting disease”. It is NOT "the flu". 
  • Millions of viruses are in poop, vomit, and possibly nasal secretions and saliva of a sick person.
  • Illness is spread when a few of these viruses get into someone else's mouth.
  • It usually takes 24-72 hours to get sick after you have swallowed the virus. Sometimes it takes a full week or even a little longer.
  • person is contagious (still producing viruses) for at least 3 days AFTER symptoms have stopped.
  • Stay away from other people as much as possible while you are contagious and don’t prepare food for anyone else if possible.
  • If you or your child is sick with vomiting or diarrhea, do not prepare food or snacks for other people. (It is not a good time to bring a snack for the class or bake cookies for a sports team.) If you work in food service, DO NOT go to work. 
  • Children should stay home from school or daycare for 48 hours after the last bout of vomiting. 48 hours is the minimum time it takes to make sure symptoms are over. (There can be a relapse of vomiting after 24 hours and the diarrhea sometimes doesn’t start for 24-48 hours after the vomiting). Ideally they should stay home until they have eaten normally for a full day. That often takes longer than 48 hours. 
  • If you or your children have just recovered from a stomach bug, do not go to unnecessary public places (movies, pools, restaurants, indoor playgrounds) or play dates at someone else's house until they have been well for a full week. 
  • The viruses can live for weeks on household surfaces. Clean with chlorine bleach (a 5%-10% solution of household bleach in water is good or Clorox clean-up with bleach), Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Wipes or Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Spray (great for carpet). The Regular Clorox® wipes and Lysol® wipes from the grocery, including Lysol Power and Free Hydrogen Peroxide Wipes store DO NOT claim to kill these viruses
  • Since the viruses live so long on household surfaces, don't have company to your house until all have been well for 2 weeks. If you do have company, give them a warning. Don't go to someone else's house who has been sick with a stomach bug for 2 weeks unless you have a few pounds that you'd like to lose. 
  • School nurses should not send children who "don't feel good" back to class. Children with stomach bugs frequently don't have a fever and vomiting in the middle of class will put the other students at high risk.
  • Never visit someone at a nursing home or hospital until you have been well for 2 weeks after a stomach bug.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Teachers should insist that all children wash their hands before lunch and snack. Many elementary school teachers do not do this.
  • Only a few hand sanitizers have been tested and kill norovirus. My-Shield Hand SanitizerClorox Hand SanitizerZylast Antiseptic, and Germstar Noro  are my favorites.

Print this information to pass out or hang up and help spread the knowledge!

Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide Wipes - Buy on Amazon!

Tips f
or AVOIDING the stomach flu

 Like my facebook page if you'd like to be updated when I post new experimental results. If you suffer from the fear of stomach bugs, you are welcome to join our SECRET Facebook group. Just send me an e-mail and I will add you. phd.annie at gmail.com

Dr. Annie's Experiments

I have done many experiments myself testing hand sanitizers, cleaning products, and produce washing techniques. These are relatively simple experiments and are perfect for science fair projects. Check out the very interesting results. Hint: Don't buy ready-to-eat pre-sliced apples. 

Welcome to "Stop the Stomach Flu" - by Dr. Annie
If you have stumbled upon my web site because you or a loved one is suffering from a stomach bug, you have my deepest sympathy. Yes, there are worse illnesses in the world. But stomach bugs are the worst kind that are definitely going to happen to all of us and happen so frequently. Viral gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the United States1 (the common cold is #1). Most people don't really care if they have a cold, but I think we can all agree that the vomiting and diarrhea illnesses are entirely too awful to be so prevalent. Norovirus is the most famous stomach virus, and the Norovirus GII.4 Sydney strain seems to be causing a lot of trouble2. However, it is not the only stomach bug going around. I personally know 3 families who have had stomach bugs 4 times during the past year! I have heard from a few families who got stomach bugs 5 times in 1 year. That is the record. If you have been unfortunate enough to get a stomach bug more than 5 times in 1 year, please let me know. In my experience, it seems that most people have no idea how they got the stomach flu or how they could give it to someone else. I believe that if people were educated about the stomach flu, how it is spread, and how long they are contagious, we would not all have to get it so many times. And yes, I know that the stomach "flu" is a nickname and has no relation to influenza. There just isn't a good collective term for all of these gastrointestinal illnesses that I hate. 

Why am I qualified to write about the stomach flu? 
I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry and am also a mom with three small children. I have gone through several awful stomach flu episodes with my family. I passionately hate all stomach bugs. The purpose of this web site is to promote awareness of stomach bug facts so people will learn how to avoid it and how not to give it to everyone else if they do get it. I have provided links to the credible web sites where I got my information. Whenever possible I reference the journal articles describing the actual scientific experiments done to determine these facts so you can trust that this information is accurate. Since most people who hate the stomach flu are also interested in avoiding anything that causes them to be up all night throwing up, I provide information about other causes of gastroenteritis including food poisoning. This is a great place to brush up on your knowledge of norovirus, rotavirus, e.coli, salmonella, and many other unpleasant organisms that you'd like to avoid. I also do lots of experiments where I test cleaning products, hand sanitizers, essential oils and many other products for their ability to kill germs.

I am not a medical doctor. This information is not intended to be medical advice or replace the advice offered by your physician. If you or your loved one is extremely sick, please call your doctor right away or go to the emergency room.                                                                                                                                               

Please e-mail me your questions, comments, additional facts, and personal stories. I would like people to share their own personal stories so we can learn from each other’s experiences. I’d love to hear from physicians, nurses, researchers, parents, and anyone with emetophobia (fear of vomiting). I will do my best to find the answers to your questions. I will post any interesting comments that I receive on this web site for everyone to read. My name is Annie and my e-mail is phd.annie at gmail.com. I had to write my e-mail that way to decrease the number of Viagra ads that I receive. I hope you understand what it means. I always e-mail everyone back. Anyone is welcome to join the SECRET Stop the Stomach Flu Facebook group. It is a secret group which means that all of your Facebook friends will NOT KNOW when you post about diarrhea. Just e-mail me if you want to join. I also have a public facebook group that anyone can "like". 

Annie Pryor, PhD

Princess Katie Books
Subpages (42): View All