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How to Survive When You Have the Flu

Updated on June 26, 2012

Having the flu is the absolute worst! Your whole body aches, you can't keep any food down, no one wants to be around you. Basically, you're at the bottom of the crap pit when you have the flu. But despite the fact that you're feeling absolutely terrible, there are a few things you can do to help yourself feel a little bit better while you're sick. Here are a few things that I always do whenever I have the flu, and I think they'll help you out, too.

First and Foremost: Take Time Off!

Sure, you really can't afford to take a day off of work or school. Maybe you have a test today, or a big project you're working on at school. Or maybe you are meeting with a big client at work and fear you might lose the sale if you reschedule.

But trust me, you're better off staying in bed! No one will want to be around you when you're sick like this. Plus, you won't be much good at work or school, anyway. You'll be moving slower than normal, your mind won't be in its usual sharp and tuned state, and you'll probably have a yucky expression on your face all day (no matter how hard you try to hide it!). If that's no enough to convince you, how about this:

I bet your bed or couch is closer to the bathroom than your desk is!

Admit it. Doing anything other than staying home is just going to make you feel worse, so save yourself the trouble and call in sick right now.

Enlist the Help of Your Loved Ones

I'm sure you've been there for them plenty of times when they were in need. Now, it's their turn. You are hopelessly sick and in terrible need of some assistance. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Call a sibling or your best friend. Have a housemate help you out. Or better yet, call your mom! There is nothing quite like having your mom take care of you when you're sick, no matter how old you are!

Ask them to make a run to the store for you, rent you a movie, make you some soup. I'm willing to bet that your loved ones would be more than happy to help you out right now. I'm sure they know exactly how you're feeling!

If you're having trouble getting anyone to help, kindly remind them that you would do just the same for them (because you would. Right?). Offer to do a big favor for them in return. If they still refuse, threaten to sneeze on them. That should do the trick!

Stock Up on the Essentials

There are a few things I just can't go without when I have the flu.

  • Pepto-Bismol: This will help with your upset stomach, nausea, etc.
  • Ibuprophen: Fever reducer. It will also help to dull your aches and pains.
  • NyQuil/DayQuil: Make sure it has "Cold and flu" written on the front, otherwise it might not be designed to relieve the symptoms you're having. This will take care of your fever and body aches.
  • 7-Up: Soda is definitely NOT the best thing to drink when you're sick. However, there is something about 7-Up that calms an upset stomach almost immediately. Sometimes I pair it with saltine crackers, which is often the only thing I can manage to eat when I'm sick.
  • Soup: Chicken noodle, tomato, whatever. Just get lots of soup, and sip on it slowly.

NOTE: Read all directions before taking any medicines. Do not take the medicines I listed above at the same time. My advice is in no way meant to substitute that of a medical professional. Always use COMMON SENSE when taking medical and medicinal advice from other people!

Cuddle Up With Your Pet!

Do you have a dog or a cat?

Have you ever noticed that they seem to understand when you're sick? I know my dog does. She never leaves my side when I'm sick. She doesn't ask to go outside for a walk, she doesn't seem interested in playing with her toys. She just cuddles up with me all day long, occasionally licking my face.

Having a dog or cat to cuddle with is a huge comfort when you're feeling sick. They just seem to understand that you're under the weather, and want nothing more than to hang out in bed with you all day. Since it's unlikely that anyone else will want to cuddle with you (for fear of catching the flu), take advantage of your loving pet!


When you're sick, chances are high that you'll end up spending a lot of time sleeping. After all, your body is worn down and it needs a lot of rest to recover. But during your waking hours, you'll need something to keep you busy, especially since you're confined to the bed or couch.

  • Read a book. Sometimes I will bring out one of my favorite books and read all day long when I'm sick. It's a nice quiet activity. And if it's a book you've already read, it won't matter too much if you happen to fall asleep and lose your place. That happens to me a lot.
  • Watch a movie. Something funny, preferably. While I'm not sure if laughter really is the best medicine or not, I do know that it helps a great deal in making you feel better for a while. So put on a movie that makes you laugh!
  • Video Games! Sometimes when I have the flu, I need something more mentally engaging than a book or a movie. I need something that will get my mind off of my queasy stomach for a while. That's why I sometimes turn to video games when I'm sick. I like to play The Sims on my laptop. I often turn to games like word puzzles and sudoku, too.
  • Leisurely hobbies. Do you like to draw, scrapbook, knit? This is a great time to do those things, too! Just don't overexert yourself.

Other Advice

  • At least for the first day, make sure you have quick and easy access to the bathroom at all times. The flu often requires lots of bathroom time. If you have to, keep a trashcan near you so you don't have to run to the bathroom. Make sure it's lined with trash bags that you can tie up. This may not be very pleasant, but it beats not making it to the bathroom!
  • Get as much sleep as you can. If you're having trouble sleeping because of your discomfort, try putting on some soothing music. A dose of NyQuil might help, too.
  • Drink lots of water. If you're throwing up or have diarrhea, you could get dehydrated very quickly. It's important to make sure that water is entering your body faster than it's coming out.
  • Go easy on the solid foods. Do not eat anything that you won't mind seeing again in the next twenty minutes!

How Do YOU Cope?

Is there something I missed here? I'd love to hear what you do to feel better when you have the flu! Please share your own advice in the comments!


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    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I liked this hub.. and you gave some very helpful ideas !