Tell a Friend--Anonymously

Is there someone you WISH knew the stomach flu facts? Your child's entire class perhaps? A food service worker who you know worked while sick with a stomach bug? But you are too embarrassed to tell them yourself? I completely understand. Just send me an e-mail with a list of the e-mail addresses. I will send the recipients this letter from ME. I will never reveal who requested that the letter be sent. I will keep all e-mail addresses confidential, and I will never contact the people again. My e-mail is phd.annie at Here is the basic letter. I do tweak the letter according to the time of year and according to your needs and who I'm sending it to. (A school nurse versus the manager at a fast food restaurant who is working sick). It is best if you give me the first names of the recipients to make it more personable.

Dear Parents, Teachers, School Administrators, and Friends,             

Did you know that when a child has a stomach bug, they should stay home from school or daycare for 48 hours after the last bout of vomiting to decrease the spread of the illness to others?

My name is Annie Pryor. I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry and am a mother of 3 young children. I am also the author of the website  I am writing to you today because it is stomach “flu" season, and I want you, your family, and the students in your school to stay healthy.  In an effort to decrease the prevalence of the stomach bugs, I am trying to help educate people about how these illnesses are spread. I have compiled a list of stomach virus information that I have gathered from the CDC website, various scientific journals, and personal experience.

Stomach Virus Facts:
  • Symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea. It is caused by viruses. (Norovirus and rotavirus are common culprits.) It is viral gastroenteritis and is not related to influenza (the real flu). 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.
  • Viruses can become temporarily airborne while someone is vomiting and may be breathed in by innocent bystanders. 
  • 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.
  • Don't take recovering children to any non-essential public places. No restaurants, zoos, pools, malls, libraries etc. 
  • 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. Don't make a meal for the new mom.) 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).
  • 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
  • Although hand washing is best, when using a hand sanitizer make sure to use one that actually kills norovirus. Very few hand sanitizers kill it. Here is a list of my favorites. 
  • 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.
  • Daycare providers should ALWAYS wear disposable gloves when changing diapers.
  • 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.
Many people are unaware of this information. Please consider sharing or forwarding this information to all of the members of your school. For more information, including tips to help you avoid stomach bugs, please visit

I hope you, your family, and your school have a happy, healthy year!

Annie Pryor, Ph.D.
I am not a medical doctor. This information is not intended to be medical advice or replace the advice offered by your physician. This is a one time only e-mail. There is no need to unsubscribe.