Overcoming a Sick Day :: 14 Things to Have on Hand


Overcoming a Sick Day :: 14 Things to Have on Hand | Columbia SC Moms Blog

When I was a kid, sick days were kind of fun. I sat on the couch in a comfy “bed,” watching all the television I could handle, ate all the typical comfort food (chicken noodle soup, crackers, ginger ale) and HELLO?!, I didn’t have to go to school. I almost hated to get better!

As a mom, sick days just aren’t the same. A few weeks ago, my entire family (me, my husband, the toddler) got sick … in the SUMMER! (Not supposed to happen, right?!) While I think the toddler and the husband were pretty cozy, that was not my situation. Someone had to continue to do laundry, buy groceries, give medicine – all the things – while trying to feel better. We did get better fairly quickly (a solid week of illness – which felt like much, much longer), but it was a struggle.

However, I was prepared! There are some things I always have at my house in case someone gets sick … and now that school is starting and germs will be spreading a little faster, here are some things you can have on hand to help your family get better quick! And, if you are unfortunate enough to get sick too, at least you’ll have these things in your home already and you won’t have to make a run to the grocery store. 

  1. Cleaning Products. Kind of a no brainer, but make sure you have all the things. Whether you use something like Norwex or you are a full out Lysol girl, always make sure you are stocked up, just in case. 
  2. Lemons and Honey. Lemon, honey (local honey is the best, but any honey will work), and hot water is the BEST thing for a sore throat. Always have these things on hand. If you do not have fresh lemons, lemon juice will work in a pinch (buy it in the produce aisle at the grocery store – bottle looks like a little lemon). They say that honey also helps with allergies.
  3. Vapor Rub. Make your own using essential oils or buy something like Vicks (my childhood favorite). Opens up your sinuses and just feels nice on your chest. For little kids, put it on their feet and then put socks on. 
  4. Soup or Pasta. Growing up, both of these things were what my mom had on hand for sick days. The pasta was always served with butter and salt. The soup was usually chicken noodle (vegetable or egg drop soup when I stopped eating meat). 
  5. Crackers. Crackers are sort of amazing. They seem to soak up whatever ickiness is happening in the stomach, they taste good, and they are something my toddler will seem to eat no matter how she is feeling. Have all the crackers in your pantry! 
  6. Essential Oils. If you use essential oils, three great ones to have for sick times are lavender (which you can use on your children too – on feet, down spine), thyme (great for opening up chest congestion), and peppermint (it just smells nice). Many essential oil companies have blends to boost immunity – some are even specifically formulated for kids. 
  7. Juice or Ginger Ale – Water is the best thing for you to drink to stay hydrated, but I know my toddler got to the point where she did not want to drink water, so juice to the rescue! Try to buy juice that is actually 100% juice and not something with added sugars. Juice can also hide medicine! Ginger ale or something like kombucha is great for upset stomachs. 
  8. Popsicles – Great for sore throats. Again, read the ingredients. Filling your sick family up with something that has a lot of extra sugar is not going to help them feel better fast. There are lots of yummy fruit and vegetable based popsicles in the frozen food aisle, if you take time to look for them. You can also make your own popsicles, but if you are sick too – no one has time for that! 
  9. Apple Cider Vinegar – ACV is amazing. When you start to feel sick, you can take a quick shot to help you feel better. You can bathe in it to bring down a fever. You can cook with it. Add to salad dressing. It’s amazing. Just have it on hand always. 
  10. Epsom Salts – An Epsom salt bath when you are sick is wonderful. You can do this with your kids too. Helps with muscle soreness and brings out some of the yuck that is causing you to be sick in the first place. 
  11. Garlic – My grandfather used to eat raw cloves of garlic everyday and I am beginning to do that myself. Especially when I am sick … I try to eat at least three large cloves a day. Helps with sore throat and sinus stuff. Just don’t try to bite off too much at once. It will be painful. I know. Also, you will stink. 
  12. Elderberry Syrup – Have lots on hand. Helps during flu season! Have some anytime you start to feel like you are coming down with something. 
  13. Hard Candy or Cough Drops – Use whatever brand you like – there are a couple of essential oil companies that sell drops and that is what I use, but there are great ones you can get at the drugstore too. Bonus if you can find some with vitamin C or zinc! 
  14. REST! This is the hardest for the mom or main caretaker to do when everyone else is sick too (or heck, when no one else is sick – right?!) – but, you must REST when you feel sick. There is no way to get better if you do not rest. Sit on the couch with everyone else and try to nap or just relax. 

What are some things you do when your family is sick? How do you feel better fast?

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Valerie Byrd Fort was born in Florida, but when she was four years old, her family moved to the midlands and never looked back. She is mom to Katy (human) and to Lucky, Mozzy, and Penny (rescue dogs). She is married to Marty Fort, owner of the Lexington School of Music, Columbia Arts Academy, and Irmo Music Academy. She is an Instructor for the School of Library & Information Science at the University of South Carolina, where she teaches Children’s Literature to future classroom teachers and librarians. She is also Coordinator for Cocky's Reading Express, the University of South Carolina's literacy outreach program. Valerie is passionate about books, literacy, libraries, and reading aloud with children of ALL ages. She writes about books and other literacy related topics on her blog, Library Goddess. In her free time, Valerie enjoys reading, Barre3, going to Target and endless scrolling of social media  


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