Family Health & Nutrition

What To Do When Mom Has the Flu

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What to do when Mom has the flu.

Winter can be wonderful. Holiday traditions, family gatherings, travel … and germs. Unfortunately it’s also the peak season for colds and the flu, but busy moms can be especially susceptible if they’re overtired and their body’s defenses are down. So what happens when mom needs a sick day? No need to panic. Here are some ideas to help, when all you want to do is curl up under the covers.

Ask for Help

You need to take care of yourself so you can get back to the business of caring for your family. So if you can ask for help, by all means do. Ask your husband to come home from work a little early. If you’re lucky and have family nearby, enlist the help of your mom, dad, a sibling or grandparent. Ask them to come over for a few hours or even an entire day so you can get some much needed rest. If you don’t have family nearby, pay it forward with neighbors and friends. Help them out when you can, and then be sure to ask for help when you need it.

Stock Your Cupboard

If you’re sick, the last place you want to go is to the grocery store. Instead keep supplies on hand so you’re prepped and ready to take care of yourself. Some good staples include your favorite chicken noodle soup, saltine crackers, bread for toast, tea and 7-up. Be sure to have an extra box of tissues and a pain and fever reducer like ibuprofen or aspirin. Also any over the counter medicine that helps your symptoms like cough syrup, throat lozenges or vitamin C.

Simple Foods for the Kids

Keep some easy to prepare foods on hand for your kids to eat. Crackers and cheese, applesauce, mac and cheese, whole wheat bread with their favorite fillings for sandwiches, raisins and hardboiled eggs. But no one will suffer from malnourishment if they eat their favorite cereal with milk for a day or two. Ingredients to keep on hand for quick and easy dinners are pasta and sauce, chicken fingers, cheese quesadillas and stir-fry.

Keep the Kids Entertained

This can be tricky; you need your rest but your kids want your attention. Stock a craft box with supplies to keep little hands busy. Let them create their own works of art with white paper, construction paper, paper plates, tissue paper, egg cartons, stickers, colored pencils, crayons, glue sticks, feathers, googley eyes, and play dough. But don’t worry about the mess. Keep a shelf of books available that they can look at or read on their own. Coloring, puzzle and pop-up books are fun. And you can always download a new book onto your Kindle or iPad to keep your kids engaged. If you’re a family that watches little or no TV, well now is the time to turn it on. A little too much TV for a day won’t rot your children’s minds. So let your kids know they’ve hit the jackpot and can watch their favorite shows. Or, if you have a children’s movie you’ve been saving, now’s the time to pop it in the DVD player.

Hang with Your Little Ones

If your wee ones won’t leave your side, no problem. Snuggle on the couch while your kids play on the floor by your side, have a reading fest together in bed or put a bunch of pillows and blankets on the floor and make a comfy nest.

Write it Down

Keep a list of emergency numbers  ready for you or a caregiver. Write down instructions about your kids’ food allergies or medications and any school and activity schedules. If you have pets, write down the quick details of their care. By all means don’t worry about any chores, laundry, or baths—those can wait.

If you plan a little in advance, you can take a sick day, keep your sanity and have your kids survive. You’ll be back on your way to being well in no time.

Stay healthy during the cold and flu season!
With these tips you can keep your immunity up and strengthen your body’s defenses. That way, if you do get sick you’ll recover faster.
• Eat a healthy diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables and protein.
• Maintain a moderate exercise schedule like a daily walk.
• Try to steer clear of people who are coughing and sneezing.
• Practice good hand hygiene and wash your hands often. If you can’t, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
• Drink a lot of water.
• Get enough rest, 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night.
• Get a flu shot.
• See your doctor when needed.

Lisa Nord Seplak is a freelance writer and mom who manages the occasional sick day.

Published: December 2013