While ‘plenty of bed rest’ may be what the doctor ordered, when you’re a parent, especially one with sick children, the likelihood of bed rest is pretty small. You still need to keep the household running with mouths to feed, clothes to wash and minimum sanitation to maintain.
Preparing for cold and flu season before it hits may not prevent you from getting sick, but it will certainly ease the burden of keeping the household running while you’re under the weather.
So that you have them on hand ready, stock up on a supply of cold and flu tablets / paracetamol, tissues, lozenges and whatever you normally use to soldier on (‘cause sometimes soldiering on is just what we have to do). That way, you’re not out in inclement weather while you’re ill getting supplies and you’re not sharing germs either. Don’t forget the measuring cup and thermometer. Also, I haven’t tried it myself, but some people swear by homeopathic remedies. If you use these, have some on hand before illness strikes.
Last week I wrote about how I squeezed a bag of lemons and froze the juice. I can’t tell you how glad I was to be able to pop a cube in a cup of boiling water with some honey. As well as lemon juice, you may want to consider some useful essential oils like eucalyptus oil that can be used in a steamer or bath to help with congestion. I came across this site that talks about what essential oils are useful for colds and flu and how to use them.
When I was ill, all I wanted was my mum. And her chicken soup. I had a huge craving for chicken soup. And it turns out that studies have tested chicken soup and actually found it an effective remedy to symptoms of the common cold! Too sick however to make my own chicken soup, I had to make do with short soup from the local Chinese shop. Not really the same, but close enough.
Which brings me to my point: stock the freezer with soups and other foods for when you’re too sick (or even too tired) to cook. Real homemade soup in minutes when you’re ill is well worth the effort now. And other ready to defrost meals will ensure the family doesn’t turn to takeaway (which isn’t going to help you get better) while you’re out of action.
Quiet time activities
It’s a good idea to have some special quiet time activities set aside to keep the kids busy while you (or they) are under the weather. Books, colouring-in books, special DVDs, puzzles, board games – novel activities that are set aside specially for when you’re ill or other ‘special’ (mum needs a break) occasions.
In the meantime, the best thing you can do before cold and flu season arrives is to build your immunity naturally by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (did you know that sugar is an immune suppressant?), drinking lots of water and getting plenty of sleep. Keep up your vitamins and minerals and take plenty of opportunity to de-stress. And of course, one of the best ways to avoid illness is regular hand washing with normal soap and water.
What about shots? For myself, I’ve normally said no no no to flu shots, but after being sick for so long, DH thought it might be a good idea to get shot this Winter. We really don’t want the flu as well. I still haven’t decided, but it’s another way to avoid the flu this season.
If you work, ensure you know how much sick leave you have available and what the business’ policy is for taking leave? Do you need a doctor’s certificate? Under what circumstances? For instance, DH needs a doctor’s certificate if he has two or more sick days in a row or takes a Monday or Friday off sick. Can you use holiday leave if you have no sick pay? Do you have family carers leave?
Don’t forget the unwritten workplace policy. Are you expected to go to work sick? I know and you know that you’re better off at home in bed rather than at work infecting everyone else, but sometimes that’s not the reality of the workplace. If this is the case, it’s even more important to focus on building your immunity and having medicine at hand to help you manage the symptoms.
Do you prepare for the cold and flu season? I have never prepared for illness before, but the last few weeks have really shown me that we could do with some sickness preparation.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.