wow wow wow – flu season this year is no joke. Have you been down and out with it, or praying that you won’t be? Fret no more – I’ve got you covered just in case you find yourself sick and miserable.
Okay you’d think that some of these are a given but I can’t tell you how many patients I’ve seen that claim a fever but don’t own a thermometer. Stock up on the sick essentials like tissues, a thermometer, Tylenol and Advil/ibuprofen (fever reducers and helps with the body aches), saline nasal spray, cough drops, a decent cough syrup, and lots of crackers. I found these nasal swabs while browsing Amazon that are coated with manuka honey. FYI I haven’t personally tried them but the information is highly interesting. Honey is naturally loaded with antibacterial properties and these swabs claim to fend off illnesses before they start. I’d be super curious if they make a difference!
Admittedly I’m one of those that rolls my eyes when people over hype supplements as the cure-all for illnesses BUT there’s a lot of information scientifically backing the potency and efficacy of elderberry. It comes in a variety of forms, I take gummies but it also comes in a handy organic syrup. Aside from being a super sought out source of immune boosting during flu season, elderberry’s antioxidants work to fight off free radicals – which in the cellular world, basically function as lost little lonely gremlins seeking anything to latch onto and wreak havoc. They cause cell, protein, and even DNA damage, yikes! One of my professors who is an incredible NP recommends taking elderberry (whatever form) four times a day for those coming down with the flu – it monumentally speeds up the recovery!
Cool Mist Humidifier
Aside from feeling like your head weighs 100 lbs and going through piles and piles of tissues, your sinuses are probably raw and achy. Humidifiers help you breathe better by coating the air with the moisture your airways are craving. Personally I love cool mist humidifiers rather than warm mist for the fact that it doesn’t feel “humid” or warm up the room. I keep the house rather cold because a) I sleep better when it’s cold and b) the warmer the climate, the more germs are likely to thrive. Germs also prefer drier environments, and keeping the air 45%-50% relative humidity curbs their likelihood to run rampant.
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All the Fluids
Your sinuses aren’t the only ones crying out for moisture. If you’re spiking a fever, your body is fighting dehydration. You’ll want LOTs of fluids – water, tea, soups or broths. I learned something this week while seeing patients about warm liquids: it’s what we want most when we have sore throats BUT where there’s warmth there’s bacteria loving life. Drinking lots of warm liquids helps that bacteria stick around longer, even though it feels SO nice on a sore throat. I’m not saying to thwart warm liquids altogether – but I’d try to ingest more cool liquids than hot. That being said, being hydrated and keeping food down is the ultimate goal and I’ll never turn away a bowl of Spaghetti O’s when I’m sick.
Sick stomach? Nausea, vomiting, or worse – diarrhea… no thanks! I always keep a good amount of ginger tea, ginger ale, and even ginger chews in supply for the days when my GI system is being less than agreeable. Whether you’re a Canada Dry or a Schwepp’s person, ginger is key in settling a stomach.
Clorox wipes and wet ones couldn’t take my money faster during flu season. The germs. are. everywhere. We’ve discussed in previous posts that hand-washing is the absolute best way to avoid illnesses – but in the event you’re not around a sink and soap, wet ones and hand sani are your best friends.
Being sick and miserable is ONLY made better by being wrapped in your bed with all your favorite blankets, robe, jammies & socks (the fluffier the better) and hopefully a pet or two. Sleeping in between a Harry Potter movie marathon is essential, you know? Don’t forget a warm shower with a shower steamer – these things are INCREDIBLE.