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The gift that keeps on giving
The gift that keeps on giving
Scott Dunlop

Hi, brave parents!

I’m feeling a bit guilty this morning. After a weekend spent on about four hundred trips to the loo and not as much time with my kids as I’d have liked, I had to warn their mom when we dropped them off. I could see the fear in her eyes as I confessed I’d had a tummy bug the whole weekend so she may need to keep an eye on them. It was as though she could picture them dropping like flies, one by one until she, too succumbed to the dreaded illness.

Karen has been a little edgy, too. Rubbing her stomach at every rumble and waiting for the explosions to start. So far she has escaped.

My colleague also had a bit of the same bug over the weekend which she claims I must have given her. I felt like person must have felt who ate that first contaminated bat in West Africa. *Mental Note: read packaging of all meat bought in future and not buy bat meat by accident.

(I know, Ebola is an awful sickness, so I don’t mean to make light of that, but, on a much smaller scale, an outbreak of diarrhoea is no joke either.)

I’m willing to bet that you’ve had a parenting conversation like this:

Parent One: Child X isn’t feeling well, he’s been complaining about his tummy.

Parent Two: Ah, yes, it’s been doing the rounds at school.

Which makes it sound like diarrhoea is a travelling circus or the library on wheels, stopping off just long enough to leave a legacy of half-empty classrooms and worried parents.

The little ones do get so ill so fast. A simple tummy bug can reduce them to a feverish, pale, listless lump within hours, often precipitating that late-night hospital run.

Left untreated it can be serious so it’s worth reading up what to do in the event that it comes knocking on your (toilet) door.

The thing is, the blame game gets played: I give it to you, you give it to her, she gives to all of them, they pass it on to so-and-so… Which hardly reverses the bug, does it? You can’t take it back to the doctor with the receipt for an exchange. “Hi, I got this as a present, but it’s really not my style. Could I swap it for a mild rash?”

Don’t worry, though, if you’re reading this on your computer, it’s not THAT kind of virus. You should be perfectly safe, provided you stay in a hazmat suit, inside your bubble and avoid schools, malls and people in general.

I wish you all a healthy, happy week.

Why not tell us your family health horror stories? We’d love to hear your tips on surviving when the plague hits your household. Email us at and you could win a R250 voucher.

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