Surviving the flu is rough. Most people are taken out for 7 to 10 days of sheer pain and suffering unless you’re lucky enough to get a mild version. Not only is it painful to endure, but keeping the rest of the house healthy when someone has the flu is challenging for us all. And, as evidenced by one of Sofia’s own – flu season is not over yet. In that [sickly] spirit, we thought we’d share some of her favorite tricks for trying to stay as healthy as possible when you’re an incubus of viral plague (related, watching Devil Wears Prada is also advised).
Designate your Sick Space
If you, like most of us, live in a house with other humans – you want to limit their exposure to your sick germs. To the extent that you can, make your bed your healing haven. We like to make “sick boxes” that are filled with the essentials to keep in the sick room. Water, meds, crackers, cough drops, vitamins, kleenex, hand sanitizer – whatever you need to get you through the day – go into the basket for easy access from the bed. As dull as lying on your back for seven days can be, flu is highly contagious, and it’s essential to avoid the common areas to the best of your ability.
If you live alone, this is less important and can arguably wait until you can get up with ease. But, if you live with others, disinfecting daily is necessary to limit exposure. Wash hands frequently or use anti-bacterial sanitizer prior to touching shared objects like remotes, computers and door handles. Keep a spray bottle of a hydrogen peroxide solution and a few paper towels handy (hello, sick box) and spray surfaces immediately after touching them to disinfect. Follow our guide to thoroughly sanitizing after the flu once you’re well.
Did you know that your body burns significantly more calories when you have a fever? On average, with each 0.5 increase in body temp your basal metabolic rate increases approximately seven percent. This is great for weight loss, but not so great for fighting infection. Sustenance gives your body the strength to kick the flu, even though it can be hard to eat anything. Hopefully, you have a caretaker or a friend who can whip up soup or rice both of which are easy enough to eat and reheat. Smoothies are another great way to get quick, easy energy and nutrition into your body. Throw what fruits and veg you have on hand (bonus if you have protein powder) with some nut butter and coconut water and – voila, drinkable lunch. If you really can’t make any effort – either to cook or to chew – a sleeve of Saltine crackers could be your lifesaver. It should go without saying that you need plenty of fluids. We’re fans of putting gallons of water or the entire water pitcher in the sick room to limit trips to the fridge.
If you live in an area with delivery services, now is the time to pay for convenience. Not only can it be physically challenging to walk around with high fevers and body aches, but you also shouldn’t be exposing others to your germs. Urban centers will likely have some delivery option for prepared food, groceries and even pharmacies. Have soup, smoothies or groceries delivered if feasible – it’ll be the best $10 delivery charge you’ve ever spent. If delivery services are unavailable, arrange for a friend or family member to drop off some supplies at the doorstep (repay the kindness with a nice meal or bottle of wine once you’re on the mend).
A humidifier can do wonders to help you breathe during the flu. If you don’t already have one, you can find them easily on Amazon Prime. Vick’s even makes a line of humidifier that retail for $14 – $60 and are fantastic for those sick days. They will help you breathe a bit better as well as ease that cough some. Bonus: double up with a HEPA-approved air purifier to remove germs from the air and get to feeling better quickly. If it is possible, keep a window open in the sick room to circulate fresh air into the room (and allow some germs to escape).
Unfortunately, you have little choice than to ride the flu out (often from the flat of your back). Body, joint, and skin pain; potentially severe headaches; a sore throat and cough; and high fever are all common with the flu. These symptoms vary per person and can range from mild to miserable to absolutely debilitating. When body pain is at its worst, walking can feel next to impossible. Sleep, which is essential, might also be evasive due to pain. Here are the best pain relievers to help make the best out of a bad situation.
- Fever, Body and Joint Pain – Tylenol or Ibuprofen reduces temperature for temporary relief. A cold compress on your head and neck can also provide some comfort through the high fever.
- Sore Throat – Traditional Medicinal makes a great sore throat tea called throat coat which can help ease some pain there. Bonus, combine it with a green tea for antioxidants.
- Stuffy Nose – DoTerra makes a fantastic oil called breathe which is helpful with any congestion. Tea Tree Therapy makes a fantastic chest rub full of essential oils that not only soothes respiratory symptoms but is also antimicrobial.
- Keep Coconut or Vitamin E oil in the sick box to rehydrate and soothe irritation from blowing your nose.
Those are Sofia’s suggestions for surviving the flu. Hopefully, you will manage to escape the flu this year, but if not – then we wish you a quick recovery.