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Your Arsenal Against Cold and Flu Season

By HERWriter
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Your Arsenal During Cold and Flu Season Benis Arapovic/PhotoSpin

The exercise is all too familiar. We wake up and yesterday’s hint of scratchiness has turned into a full-blown, searing sore throat. Or we tiptoe into our child’s room to wake her and she is sniffling and feverish.

Suddenly, we start mentally reorganizing the day: phone calls to work, to the school attendance line, to daycare, the meetings that need to be cancelled and rescheduled. And, somehow, we have to get to the grocery store for food, cough drops or saltines.

If we are the sick ones, we face a tender, sleepy drive in rumpled sweatpants. At the market, we duck behind the end caps to avoid being seen by friends and neighbors. Foggy-headed with illness, we slog down the aisles and strain to think of exactly what it is we need.

On the other hand, if our child is ill, a child too young to stay at home alone, we face bundling her up and toting our achy, miserable patient between the house and the carseat, through the store and back again.

Even the most religious hand washing and adherence to annual flu shots will not outsmart every virus. But we can prepare and save ourselves some of the distress that comes with sick days. Start saving up the items that will ease you through this cold and flu season.

This is a long list and will run up quite a bill if purchased all at once. I suggest adding one or two things to your shopping list each week.

1) Medicine*

- Menthol rub

- Antihistamine

- Decongestant

- Acetaminophen

- Ibuprofen

- Cough syrup

- Cough drops

*For children, talk to your pediatrician about what medicines he/she prefers your child take when sick.

2) Food

- Saltine crackers

- Boxes of flavored gelatin

- Ice pops for sore throats

- Herbal tea

- Canned soup or broth

- Frozen orange juice

- Ginger ale

- Rehydrating drink

Avoid overly sweetened sports drinks. Electrolyte drinks in the children’s aisle will have less sugar and dye. Even better, use this recipe from the EmpowHer site to make your own rehydration drink. Or, if you and your children can tolerate the taste, try coconut water.

If you prefer making your soup from scratch, gather a stash of frozen egg noodles, frozen veggies, broth and frozen chicken. Better yet, make a large batch today and freeze it in individual containers.

3) Comfort

- Hot water bottle

- Ice pack

- Heating pad

- Warm socks

- Tissue, preferably with lotion

- Humidifier

Many of these items are likely already in your home, spread among bathroom drawers and closets and the dark recesses of the pantry. Set aside a particular kitchen cabinet and/or pantry or linen closet shelf to store to your “Sniffly Day Supplies” and save yourself the effort and distraction of looking for everything after illness has struck.

The energy you would otherwise use dashing to the grocery store can be channeled toward healing and care. Your immune system will thank you.


1) Giving Medication to Children . Retrieved Nov. 25, 2014.

2) How to Treat Cold and Flu Symptoms . Retrieved Nov. 25, 2014.

Reviewed November 26, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment2 Comments


Thanks for reading!

December 2, 2014 - 9:12am
EmpowHER Guest

As I turn the calendar 'pages' to December and begin my multitasking and Christmas errands, I easily shall add Sniffly Day Supplies to my list. Gradually accumulating these ingredients ..even the frozen ones ....will ease my emotional stress as the holiday tasks begin .... thanks for the great ideas,,,

November 30, 2014 - 6:33am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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