(When this article was written I still was recovering from the flu. I was taking a strong antibiotic that wiped me out every morning and kept me in a daze until evening. One particular evening I had my wits about me, so I compiled some thoughts.)
On Christmas day I contracted Influenza A (the bad kind of flu). I was contagious and my doctor’s expression was grave and serious. Sort of a “if you feel any worse you are going to the hospital” look. Hmmm. Well, it’s been a number of days now and I have followed her instructions to a tee. So, between my doctor’s instructions, my family’s advice and my own common sense, I wrote down some tips about how to get over the flu. (Tips are in no particular order)
Ø Wear a hat, scarf and closed toed shoes. It’s a funny story in my family about how none of us can get rained on and not get sick. We get it from our Mom. If even one drop of rain hits our head or neck, forget it...our sinuses will flare up. If we are lucky it will be only one day of discomfort; however, if the temperature is cold, forget it again...we will get a cold, slight fever and possibly the flu.
How did I get the flu? I ran outside in the cold rain/snow for 2 minutes to pull cushions from the patio furniture and didn’t wear a hat or scarf (and I wore sandals). The moral of this bullet point is save yourself, not your cushions, and take the time to put on the right gear to protect yourself. It’s worth it; otherwise, you’ll spend 10 days recovering from a 2 minute error.
Ø Keep plenty of tissue in the house. For years I’ve followed the practice of buying extra paper products “just in case” I need them. If you look in my closets, you’ll find multiple boxes of tissue, toilet paper and paper towels. Well, it paid off when I got sick because I can walk to any room in the house and not have to worry if there is a box of tissue in there. The flu brings congestion, coughing and sneezing. Trust me, the “just in case” tissue paid off for me.
Ø Keep lemon and filtered water in stock. Another compulsion of mine is keeping plenty of lemons in the house. It’s amazing how a simple lemon slice in my water makes me happy. Ha. When you have the flu the lemon compulsion pays off too because in order to get over the flu, you must drink lots and lots and lots of water. There’s no way around it.
Ø Don’t “Man Up” until you’ve been to the doctor. This applies to men and women. How many of us dismiss the sniffles, coughing, sneezing, slight fever, headaches and joint aches for days only to wake up one morning completely behind the flu-8-ball? Don’t do it!! (reverse Nike sign!) Just practice wisdom and humility and go to the doctor soon after your symptoms begin. If the medicine gets into your system early it will prevent the flu germ from growing. Trust me when I say everyone in your life will appreciate you going to the doctor. We don’t want to catch the flu from you!
Ø It’s true…You do need plenty of sleep and rest. I know not everyone has the luxury of a precious house mate named Stanley (lol) who lets you sleep as much as you need (and he sleeps by your side); however, let me just say that going to the doctor isn’t enough. You must sleep and rest. Sleep is when you close your eyes and pass out for hours, day after day until the medicine kicks in. Rest is when you sit on the sofa or chair while avoiding the compulsion to clean your house, cook dinner for the family, do laundry, etc. while you’re home.
If you live with someone who has the flu, don’t expect the Sickly to keep doing what he/she did before. Instead, you wash the dishes, do laundry, either cook or bring in food for the family. You be the one who drives the Sickly to the doctor, to the pharmacy to pick up the prescriptions and who goes to the store for soup, lemons, water and 7-Up. Don’t be a burden to the Sickly! (ha)
Before I leave this point let me say something to those of us who live with no one but a pet. We tend to let work be our end-all, be-all. If on Christmas Day or any day thereafter you are asked to participate in conference calls and reply to a mountain of emails while you have the flu, you just need to put your foot down and say either “no” or “wait.” A version of “no” looks like this: “I’m bedridden with the flu. Please loop Scott in for your answer.” A version of “wait” looks like this: “I’m bedridden with the flu. Cannot respond until tonight.” Sleep and rest need to come before any transaction.
Ø A few of my favorite things (that kept me company while I recovered). Stanley, Hallmark Movie Channel, Chick-fil-a chicken noodle soup, La Madeleine tomato basil soup, Odwalla orange juice, long hot showers (to stop congestion and coughing), Ugg boots, Advil, hand lotion, body lotion, lip balm, scrambled eggs, and my favorite sofa throw to keep me warm. A daily prayer to God to heal me and to restore my strength.
I hope you don’t get the flu, but if you do I hope at least 1 of these tips helps you get and feel better. Be safe and well.
PS: A heart felt “THANK YOU” to everyone who prayed for me while I was sick.