Stock up for sickness, just in case.
Cold and flu season is upon us. Who’s ready? Even if folks have already had flu shots, sickness can strike. Colds, flu, and other illnesses can keep people home for days on end, or even weeks.
What 10 basic items should be on everyone’s grocery lists during cold and flu season?
Grab that shopping list! Here are 10 essential items to pick up. If anyone in the house becomes ill, it will be handy to have these important items stowed in the cupboard. If no one catches a cold or flu, these basics will still prove useful.
Applesauce may be the ultimate comfort food for anyone who is sick, either with a cold or the flu. Gentle and delicious, applesauce is easy to eat and offers a speedy blood sugar lift for anyone who may be depleted nutritionally from illness. Often, applesauce is the first real food a sick person may be able to manage to eat after vomiting, diarrhea or other symptoms have disrupted the digestive system. Applesauce should be in the pantry during cold and flu season.
Frozen fruity pops can be soothing to sore and scratchy throats and boost blood sugar, although they do not add much nutritional benefit, unless they are actually made of juice.
2. Bottled water
Bottled water is both sterile and convenient, making it a necessity for a time of illness. Every doctor instructs patients to drink plenty of water, particularly during times of cold or flu. Keeping a capped bottle of water by the bedside helps to make this possible. Just be sure to mark water bottles carefully, to prevent sharing of water or germs, especially during cold and flu season. Use a permanent marker to monogram individual water bottles, or give each family member a different colored hair tie or rubber band to mark his or her own.
3. Bland crackers
Simple salty crackers often are the only thing a queasy sick person can stomach during the throes of illness. Saltines or Ritz-type crackers are easy to digest, and the starch helps to absorb stomach acids, aiding in the abatement of stomach flu symptoms. Often, doctors and pharmacists advise patients to take medicines after eating. Crackers may be the best solution for this dilemma, if a sick person does not feel much like eating. Every household should have an ample supply of simple, salty crackers during cold and flu season.
Graham crackers and ginger snaps can also be gentle snacks for those who are beginning to regain an appetite during a cold or flu.
Flavored gelatin is a simple food, which is easy to swallow, even with a sore throat. Jello also helps to raise plummeting blood sugar, while adding fluids for anyone feeling depleted and dehydrated from cold or flu. Prepackaged or prepared from powder, flavored gelatin is essential during cold and flu season.
Vegetarians and vegans take note, however: Gelatin generally contains animal products.
Crunchy, salty pretzels are super for staving off nausea and satisfying hunger to anyone with a queasy stomach from the flu. Plus, pretzels make a person thirsty, leading to more consumption of water and clear liquids, which aid in fever reduction, decongestion and ultimate recovery from cold or flu. Smart folks keep plenty of pretzels on hand for cold and flu season.
6. Clear soda
See-through sodas (such as ginger ale, club soda, 7-Up, Sprite, and Sierra Mist) seem to appeal to those who are ill with cold or flu, and these drinks help with hydration and blood sugar. Diet sodas and caffeinated beverages are counter-productive, however. During cold and flu season, it’s a good idea to have some clear sodas on hand.
7. Brothy soups
Steaming chicken soup is the classic cure-all recipe for cold and flu. Certainly, this old wives tale holds water, so to speak. Clear-broth soups, such as chicken or vegetable, can be ideal first meals after a bout of cold or flu. Chicken rice soup, in particular, is ideal for those who have experienced diarrhea symptoms. Most folks like to keep a few cans of clear soup in the pantry for cold and flu season. Creamy or spicy soups, however, may not be suitable.
Herbal and regular teas may comfort and appeal to those with cold or flu as well.
8. Sports drinks
Sports drinks, such as Gatorade or Powerade, can be helpful for rehydrating those who have lost significant body fluids from cold or flu. These beverages contain added electrolytes, making them extremely useful to have around during cold and flu season. Amped-up energy drinks are not the same thing and may not be the best choice when one is ill.
9. Ice packs
During times of fever and aches, as with cold or flu, an ice pack can be extremely useful. It’s a good idea to keep at least two ice packs in the freezer, just in case. This way, the cold or flu sufferer can use the ice packs, one at a time, with a backup always ready. In a pinch, a bag of frozen peas can fit the bill.
A home can never have too many boxes of facial tissue, especially during cold and flu season. Some folks like to have at least a box or two of the extra-soft variety of tissue, with comfort cream added for sore noses. A few tissues are available with eucalyptus, menthol, mint, or other scents that may be soothing to cold or flu sufferers.
What else might you need for cold and flu season?
Other helpful items for cold and flu season include over-the-counter pain relievers, cough syrup, decongestants, throat lozenges, diarrhea medication, and more. It’s also smart to keep prescriptions refilled, along with the car’s gas tank, in case one does not feel up to these tasks at some point.
It’s also a great idea to have at least a few simple meals ready ahead of time. Frozen dinners or simple leftovers are super for non-sick family members to heat and enjoy, if the main food preparer in the home is laid up for a few days. Some folks keep take-out and delivery menus and coupons tacked to the refrigerator for such instances as well. Although no one plans to become ill, a bit of advance preparation can make a season of sickness a little bit easier.