Sunday, September 27, 2009

Down With the Flu

Last week the spouse was under the weather with a bad cold/flu. By day four I was secretly happy that this would be one of the rare times that the spouse would get sick but the bug would pass me by. By day five the spouse was feeling better but I was getting the first signs of a cold/flu, namely runny nose and sore throat. Bummer. The last few days I have been down with either a bad cold or mild flu (fever, chills, body aches, head ache, coughing...the works). Here's what I learned:
  • Stuff to stock up on: kleenex, Thera-Flu, Tylenol, cough drops
  • Food: you should always have enough food on hand so you don't need to go to the store to restock for at least a couple of weeks. Canned soup, canned or frozen broth, and other simple to prepare foods are a good choice when you feel so weak that you have to build up the energy to walk to the kitchen.
  • Liquids. When I am sick, my main source of hydration and nutrition is liquid stuff--tea (no coffee, soda or milk), soup, broth, Tera Flu (because you have to mix it in a cup of hot water), and water. This serves many purposes. It keeps you from becoming dehydrated which will the affect your kidneys then vital organs, and may require a trip to the hospital to rehydrate via IV bag of fluids. Taking liquids helps to flush the bad stuff out of your system and it also gives your stomach less work to do by having less to digest.
  • Your main task when you are sick: sleeping and resting. I think I took eight naps yesterday. There is no way to speed yourself through an illness but I seem to recover faster than the spouse because I basically sleep until I feel better whereas the spouse will take OTC meds to cover up the symptoms and try to continue on as normal.
  • Don't spread your germs. Nearly every time I or the spouse is sick, the other will soon follow this is because cold and flu germs spread quickly between people thus the reason not to go to work or even leave your house until you are well again.

That's it. Surviving a cold or flu isn't rocket science, it is basically letting your body fight off the bug by helping it along with rest, liquid, and good basic nutrition (along with some meds to break the fever). Going to the hospital with a cold or flu is unnecessary unless you have very severe symptoms such as severe and prolonged vomiting or diarrhea (if it looks like blood or dark coffee grounds get to the hospital ASAP), difficulty breathing (not because you have a stuffy nose but because your lungs feel like they are working overtime just to get you a little air), or a very high temperature (101 degrees +) that Tylenol or Ibuprofen won't break.


  1. Sorry to hear you got the flu. But on the positive side it gave you a practice drill for the "big" flu.

  2. When bad cold/flu hits us we do the same as you and we also:
    1.sleep in separate beds
    2.wash in hot water the towels and pillowcases of the sick one daily
    3. disinfect the toothbrush of the sick one daily
    4. make sure the sick one's dishes, cups, glasses, and eating utensils are kept separate and washed and disinfected
    5. keep the sick one isolated - prevents them from touching anything the rest of us would touch - tv control, doorknobs, phone, etc - and I wipe those things down with disinfectant

    Luckily we hardly ever get sick - flu twice in 40 years and no colds in the last 5 years.