With all the talk about swine flu in the news lately, you may have heard mention of a “flu kit” — basically, a bunch of stuff to keep handy in case you come down with some form of influenza. The things in your flu kit can help keep you comfortable while the virus runs its course.
So what might you want to put in your flu kit?
- A thermometer. Fever may be your most noticeable (and bothersome) flu symptom.
- Fever/pain medication, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). Avoid giving aspirin to children.
- Tissues. The flu can spread quickly when folks don’t cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. Keep tissues handy to help prevent the virus from becoming airborne.
- Antibacterial soap. Washing your hands often with soap and water is a great way to help prevent spreading the flu around.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers. If you can’t wash, this is the next best thing.
- Decongestants to help get the mucus out. Skip the cough suppressant — you want to hack the bad stuff out, rather than cover it up and let it stay in your body.
- A small notebook and pen so you can keep track of symptoms if necessary. A symptom diary can help your doctor with a diagnosis!
- Anti-nausea medication. This can include ginger ale and peppermint tea — two great natural nausea remedies.
If you’re the kind of person who can’t drag themselves to the store when they’re sick, you might want to lay in supplies of your favorite sick foods and drinks — so you don’t have to bug someone else to go OR make the effort yourself.
- Your favorite broths and soups.
- Sports drinks.
- Jell-O mix.
- Bottled water.
- Any of your favorite comfort foods with a long shelf life.
Once you’ve assembled your flu kit, pack it in a sturdy box or plastic bin and leave it somewhere like the bathroom, bedroom, or hall closet. Don’t hide it away in the basement — are you going to want to go fetch it once you’re sick? Hopefully you won’t need it… but if the flu strikes, you’ll be ready.
And don’t forget to keep an eye on expiration dates. Every year or so, go through your flu kit and toss anything that has expired.