Don’t Be Caught Unprepared – Cold/Flu Edition!

Asian caucasian woman with flu and feaverThis past Saturday, I went hiking because it was between 50/60F outside and I could not pass up the opportunity after dealing with below freezing weather for weeks. I thought a sweatshirt and a jacket would be enough, but here I am, just a few days later, with a cold. After going in to work for 6 hours, I had to leave early. Now I’m snuggled up in a blanket watching Netflix and snacking on some crackers. You know what the best part about this cold is? That I didn’t have to run to the store to grab any random cold/flu items. The absolute last thing I want to do is be anywhere but my couch or bed.

So, while you’re still healthy, stock up on these sick essentials, and try not to use any of them when you don’t need to!

1. Crackers

I looove crackers. Salted, unsalted, wheat, I’ll eat it. They are the perfect snack food for when you’re definitely not feeling 100%. Buy a big box or two of your favorite flavors, and keep ’em in your cupboards for those days when you can’t keep anything else down.

2. Soup (store-bought or homemade)

I still have about 2 cans of soup in my cupboard, which should last me through this cold spell but isn’t ideal. I like to have minimum 5 to 6 servings on hand for those days when I don’t have the energy to actually make a meal but still need to eat. There’s also always delivery, but we’re also trying to save money here. Homemade soup is ideal, but I’m not going to pretend that I’m this awesome apartment-dweller who has her entire life together and is able to make tons of batches of soup and freeze them for later dates; I’m not that organized. BUT I definitely recommend you try making a big batch at least once, maybe on a boring Sunday, so you have something very tasty and nutritious later – those canned soups pack a ton of sodium!

3. Other easy meals

No one wants to spend time cooking, and you can only eat so much soup. Frozen meals you’ve already cooked in advance or purchased from the store are great to have on standby for days when you can’t stand in front of the stove. Other great options are oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, and bananas.

4. Medicine

This one’s obvious, but there have been times where I needed to venture out of my little nest into the real world and make a grumpy stop at a Walgreens or CVS because I didn’t have any cold medicine. It really sucks. I’m sure you’ve had to do the same. So do yourself the favor of buying a few packs of whatever cold medicine brand you prefer today. Personally, I’m a DayQuil/NyQuil/Airborne gal but they’re basically all the same – I usually end up buying generic versions of these simply because they’re so much cheaper. As a side note, I only ever buy the pill versions of DayQuil/Nyquil because oh my the liquid tastes HORRIBLE. Do yourself a favor and buy the pill packs, unless you don’t mind gagging while feeling like death because your nose runs every time you get up and you can’t swallow because there’s this weird uncomfortable lump at the back of your throat. But you know, you do.

5. Pedialyte

Yes, this has its own little header because I love this stuff. Get the frozen Icee-like pops, they are the most wonderful creation on Earth. They’re for kids? Psh, I don’t care. They taste like magic and distract you from how awful you’re feeling. If you don’t want a popsicle (why????) they have drinks that contain the same beautiful electrolytes that make you feel A+.

6. Tea

This one’s optional, although I haven’t met a person that doesn’t like tea. Anyways, have some emergency tea on hand for times when you’re feeling sick. It’s super soothing to have a large thermos to sip on while you recuperate.

7. Tissues in every room

Right now, I have a box of tissues next to me on the couch, one in my dining room/kitchen, and one in my bathroom. Any time I feel a sneeze or my nose gets too runny, I’m within reach of a tissue and don’t have to do that awkward dance of trying to hold a sneeze in while trying to find the box of tissues as fast as possible.

8. Activities

There’s only so much Netflix I can watch before I get restless, so I like to have lots of little things to do that are within arms-reach of my couch (because I’m lazy and babying myself). Coloring books, knitting projects, little watercolor travel kits, and books are some of my favorite things to do while I get better.

This list is not exhaustive, but these are the main things I keep in supply for when I fall ill. Good luck staying healthy this season!

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Author My First Apartment
Amanda S

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Amanda Szymanski is a 2015 graduate from High Point University in North Carolina, from where she earned a BS in psychology. She loves all things related to scientific research, art, and mindfulness. Currently, she is employed as a research assistant working on a study investigating Alzheimer's Disease. When Amanda is not working on research, she enjoys painting with watercolors, hiking, and reading.

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