I never get sick. I have a killer immune system. Usually, the common cold and the annual flu pass me by but this last year I wasn’t so fortunate. With no flu survival plan in place, The flu hit me hard and I was knocked off my feet for more than 2 weeks. At one point, my fever was high enough that I was delirious, giving my husband crazy instructions for plugging in a heating pad, as my whole body was wracked with violent shivering.
What was funny is that I knew what I was saying made no sense, I knew I was delirious, and I still kept talking crazy talk. Thank God my husband has a good sense of humor!
Symptoms of the flu
I knew I had a case of the flu when my symptoms became very extreme, very quickly, although for some people, symptoms of the cold can be confused with those of the flu.
It’s easy to confuse symptoms of the common cold with the flu, but in general, flu symptoms are simply worse. The flu comes with a fever, severe body aches, a deep cough, violent chills, severe fatigue — truly miserable symptoms. A cold isn’t a whole lot of fun, either, but those symptoms will be milder — runny nose, sore throat, plenty of sneezing, body aches, and mild fatigue. Once symptoms cross the line from feeling “under the weather”, to “just kill me now”, you probably have the flu.
Putting together a Flu Survival Plan
Before you’re faced with a sick family and have no choice but to make a mad dash to the drugstore, you’ll want to stock up on a few items to make the best of sick days. At the top of my shopping list is Puffs with Vicks (I love getting a nice, deep breath of eucalyptus from the Vicks), DayQuil, and NyQuil. I also keep lozenges on hand, Vitamin C (chewable for kids), a heating pad, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen.
NOTE: Starting 10/29, Walmart shoppers can save up to $5 on medicine cabinet essentials just in time for cold and flu season. On this date, look in the P&G brandSAVER in your local Sunday newspaper or at PGeveryday.com to find coupons for $0.50 off Puffs and $1-$3 off Vicks products including DayQuil, NyQuil, Sinex and VapoRub. This arsenal of cold and flu symptom relievers will help your family feel better this season.
I’ve also found that sippy cups (yes, even for older kids and adults) are helpful for always having liquids at hand while avoiding all-too-frequent spills. A case of Gatorade or Pedialyte will provide liquids, along with electrolytes potassium, magnesium, and sodium. You can also make a batch of homemade rehydrating liquid using the recipe in this article.
Setting up the sick room
Once a family member has been diagnosed with the flu, in particular, it’s time to set up a “sick room” with all these supplies handy. On the bedside table, have Puffs with Vicks (again, one of my favorites), a spill-proof cup filled with water, Gatorade, or something similar and a trash can to hold used tissues. A high fever will require extra blankets, a heating pad, or a hot water bottle, so have those handy as well. Limit the amount of time well family members spend in the sick room. If there’s anything worse than a full-blown case of the flu, it’s everyone in the family sick with the flu!
If the flu includes nausea, have ready a bucket for vomit, extra towels, and disinfecting wipes to clean all the surfaces that may have been on the receiving end of any splatter. (Ugh — I know, but when you have a home with kids, this is what you deal with!)
For sure, you’ll want to limit this cold or flu to the poor victim who is down for the count. To stop the virus from spreading, require family members to wash their hands frequently — create a checklist for the kids and have them record with a sticker or a check mark every time they wash their hands during the day. Make sure everyone knows how to sneeze properly, covering their sneeze with either a tissue or sneeze into the inside of their elbow. And, when you leave the sick room, be sure to wash your own hands with soap and water.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of P&G . The opinions and text are all mine.
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