The 2017-2018 flu season has been ridiculously brutal. In fact, according to, uh, science, it’s one of the worst seasons we’ve seen in the last 10 years. And while it’s no swine flu epidemic of 2009, it IS definitely a big old bag of germs.
Maybe you have somehow magically escaped the icy hot grip of Influenza, and also somehow managed to side step all of the mega viruses going around that make you feel like dying without the sweet relief that death would bring. Count yourself blessed. But if you are alive and step foot in a grocery store or coffee shop or have tiny germ ambassadors disguised as children living in your home, you know the horror of the season. My deepest condolences to you, my friend.
So, what do you do when you are stuck in a sickness cycle?
Don’t go anywhere.
Yeah, who wouldn’t be thrilled about spending days on end in bed, feeling like you were hit by a truck and then forced to climb a mountain every time you needed to pee? Yeah, me either. But once the worst of the symptoms wear off and you are tempted to go to the store or back to work the moment you don’t feel like utter garbage, resist. Chances are, you are still fairly contagious, plus your immune system is already lowered significantly. You will be much more likely to contract whatever bullsh*t virus is making the rounds, just as you start to feel better. This helpful video from our buddies at NPR show us exactly how sickness is spread. It’s worth a watch and definitely worth a share on social media.
Get your woo on.
Maybe you are a NyQuil and Chill kind of person. That’s amazing. Do you. Also consider that your body needs more than fever reducers in an alcoholic decongestant cocktail. Grab your fizzy vitamin C drink, order in some honest to goodness real chicken soup (not that canned junk that is mostly sodium water and preservatives), slather your body in vapor rub or essential oils (if that’s your thing), do a shot of elderberry syrup, and drop some Vitamin D like it’s 1997 and you’re at your first rave. Or like it’s your first communion. Your choice.
Either way, treat your body to some extra immunity boosters that will help you feel better and kick your sickness faster.
Try not to die.
Okay, but I mean it. All joking aside, know what to look for when your flu shifts to pneumonia or bronchitis. All of that resting you’ve been doing? Well, here's the thing. If you’ve been in a reclined position for a week and are taking cough suppressants around the clock, all of that juicy mucus has kind of settled in and you might be at risk for getting a secondary infection.
Take your expectorants (like mucinex), let your fever burn as much as you can safely stand it, drink fluids like its a full time job, and try to sit up for a few minutes every hour if you can. Coughing is awful, and it also performs a vital and necessary function: keeping your lungs clear. Find that line between letting your body rest and letting it fight.
And seriously. KNOW THE SIGNS. Don’t power through, don’t brush it off, and don’t end up in the ICU.
Accept that you are going to be a puddle for at least a week.
No exaggeration here, you will be a juicy, wet mess. You will produce more fluids than you ever thought possible. You might pee yourself or vomit from the force of your coughing. You will have more snot than is reasonable for any human to ever produce. This is horrific and I’m so sorry. Be ready to accept the things you cannot change — like the mass production and secretion of bodily fluids.
Remind yourself that you haven’t always been sick, and one day you will be well again.
You will recover, I promise. It’s going to take some time. You’re going through A Thing right now, and you won’t feel better overnight. Or maybe even a fortnight. But you will recover, and when you do, you will never ever take the ability to breathe through both nostrils at the same time or peeing on command (instead of by accident) for granted again.
Oh, and if you have somehow managed to sidestep all the sickness, good news! The worst of the flu season has peaked. We are all going to get better now, just in time for all of the springtime pollen and allergies from hell.