It always happens: I feel that first tickle or soreness in my throat, the inexplicable aches, Hubby starts sniffling. These are my warning signs that illness will descend upon the household imminently. I usually run to the store to stock up on what we’ll need, guiltily spreading viruses throughout the store. The alternative is attempting to sustain myself on the remaining dregs of a bottle of Dayquil whose expiration date rubbed off years ago, and that tea in the back of the cabinet that tastes like it was dredged out of Boston Harbor be someone even more frugal than me.
Well, no more! I am currently on the mend from a cold/flu, and this time I am stocking up in advance for the inevitable next plague. You can also use this as a “Get well soon” kit for an ailing friend. Put these items in a lovely gift basket with a bow, then leave it on their porch and run like hell to avoid zombie-fication.
- For adults:
Dayquil (or generic alternative, which you know is the one I have)
NyQuil (aka magical unicorn tears)
Okay, basically all the drugs
Tea (Throat coat is almost as magical as Nyquil)
Cough drops (even more drugs)
Chicken soup, or your preferred hot liquid
In the event of a stomach virus, crackers
Zinc (my choice), or your go-to supplement, like Emergen-C
- For kids too young for the good meds:
Herbal Tea (No caffeine, for the love of hamsters)
Chicken broth, watered down juice, whatever they’ll drink to keep hydrated
Vapor Rub (goes on feet at night, under socks)
New books, games, TV, anything to distract them
When you feel yourself starting to get sick, get your nest ready. You may need or want to be sequestered away from others to avoid spreading contagion, or just to avoid their horrified grimaces when they see you wandering the house with tissues stuffed up your nose, moaning quietly.
Darkness, blessed darkness
Quiet, thrice blessed quiet
Chargers in place for required devices
Trashcan (for tissues or vomit, depending on your illness)
Comfy bathrobe for wandering the house in, while moaning quietly
Journal and pen to capture your last words
You can also prepare by either keeping some things on hand: canned soup, soup fixin’s, or make and freeze soup in advance, in small containers. Having food basically ready to pour in your mouth when you feel like death is a solid option makes illness so much easier. Your body needs fuel to fight off a virus, so help it out with lots of fluids, nutrients, and sleep. You can make big batches of soup while you’re feeling well, then freeze it so it’s ready when you or a friend need it.
It’s hard to deal with sick kids when they’re too young to get the effective medicines, like decongestant. For congestion, take your little one into a hot shower, and get the bathroom nice and steamy. You can also use a humidifier if you have one. We also put a couple folded towels under one end of Nacho’s crib mattress so he slept a little bot propped up; this seems to help him breath easier while sleeping. We’d heard the Vapor Rub on the feet thing before, but finally tried it. It seemed to possibly help, but he could have been healing on his own at that point, so it’s hard to tell. We also save TV for a treat, so during the worst of it we let him watch a solid hour of TV. He was so fixated, I was able to sneak some chicken soup into him.
Also remember, antibiotics will do NOTHING for a cold virus. AntiBIOTICS fight BACTERIA. AntiVIRALS fight VIRUSES. Don’t pester your doctor for antibiotics that will do literally nothing to make you better, and can lead to more problems down the road. That’s like asking for an antidote to poison when you got hit by a car. It’s not going to fix the problem you have.
Being sick sucks, so make it suck a little less by being prepared.