The Workingmums’ guide to surviving the norovirus

You’ve made it to the end of the longest term, through Nativity plays and carol concerts and presents for the teachers. You’re even more exhausted than normal. You’re looking forward to a family Christmas. So of course this will be the precise moment that all the bugs you have been dodging in the playground come home to roost. The big daddy of them all is norovirus, which is apparently rife this year. If you haven’t had the pleasure of making its acquaintance before, here are some tips on how to survive it, if there are no added complications.

1. Norovirus’ best weapon is the element of surprise so if you’ve been around someone with norovirus prepare yourself for the worst at any point over the next 24 hours. Arm yourself with buckets and don’t plan any long distance journeys in enclosed spaces without a toilet.

2. If one of the children have it, the chances are very high that any others will also succumb and that just at the moment when they are recovering and possibly on a post-virus bouncy high you will go under [but no-one will hold your bucket for you and you will still be required to keep soldiering on]. There are lots of articles about how you can avoid the virus by careful handwashing. These are highly optimistic so do not feel at all guilty if you do get it.

3. Once you start being sick or having diarrhoea, do not think it’s all over now. Wait forty minutes and you will find yourself in the exactly same position. This will repeat for around 12 hours unless you’re lucky. Different people get it in different ways.

4. If you start in the morning, count yourself lucky. Norovirus at night can mean days of washing.

5. Don’t eat or drink anything until the vomiting bit stops. You will find that even water is hard to keep down. However, stock up on liquids as soon as it stops.

6. After it is over you will feel as if the last 24 hours never happened. It’s acute and violent when it’s happening in an almost awe-inspiring way, but then it leaves like an evil spirit that has been exorcised and you are back to your normal self, only 24 hours behind on all the Christmas preparations. Unless, of course, you succumb on Christmas Day. Happy Christmas.

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