As hard as we try to avoid them, sick days are inevitable. And whenever you (or your little one) start to feel under the weather, you’ll want to have the essentials handy. Unsure what goes into a sick day essentials tool kit? Today’s article has got you covered.
What Goes in Your Sick Day Essentials Tool Kit?
Want to ensure your sick days go smoothly? Help yourself and your little ones bounce back as quickly as possible with these sick-day essentials:
Tea, Tea, and More Tea
Whenever you fall under the weather, rest and hydration are key. Aim to drink lots of fluids, and make it easier on yourself by keeping your tea cabinet stocked. Personally? We’ve found that chamomile, peppermint, and ginger tea are exceptional when you’re feeling low. And if you throw a splash of honey in your mug, it works as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial agent.
You don’t necessarily need separate thermometers for kids and adults. However, if your children are on the squirmier side, they might do better with an ear or forehead model. We recommend the Vicks ComfortFlex thermometer for oral and armpit use and the Homedics TIE-240 Non-Contact Infrared Body Thermometer for forehead use.
As we mentioned, staying hydrated during your sick days is necessary for a speedy recovery. Therefore, we recommend sticking an electrolyte supplement in your sick day essentials tool kit. Note that Gatorade and Powerade are mostly sugar, which is why we recommend stocking up on LMNT packets.
Hot and Cold Packs
When you wake up with body aches and muscle pain, hot and cold packs will minimize your suffering. We recommend heating pads for muscle stiffness, cramps, aches, and pains and ice packs (or simply cold washcloths) for inflammation and swelling.
Pro tip: If you have a fever, apply a cold compress to your forehead to regulate your internal body temperature.
Elderberry and Echinacea
Elderberry and echinacea are some of the best natural agents to tuck inside your medicine cabinet. Elderberry syrup has incredible antibacterial properties – especially against rhinoviruses and influenza. (It contains an enzyme that blocks the virus’ ability to attach to your respiratory pathway.)
Similarly, echinacea has immune-boosting properties. Because it increases your white blood cell activity, this flowering plant is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. However, people with autoimmune diseases should avoid it as it may reduce the effectiveness of any medications that suppress the immune system.
All the Medicine
You never know when a sick day will strike. And that’s why it’s important to stock your medicine cabinet with a variety of over-the-counter medications. Here are some suggestions:
- Antibiotic ointment
- Bandages, band-aids, and gauze pads
- Calamine lotion
- Cough suppressants
- Flu relief medicine
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
(Of course, you should always ask your healthcare provider before trying a new medication.)
These plant-based potions soothe common cold symptoms and offer relief to your discomfort. Additionally, many essential oils contain antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and calming properties.
You can apply essential oils topically, via steam inhalation, or in a soothing aromatherapy-infused bath. Our favorite ways to use oils include:
- Lavender oil to promote sleep
- Ginger oil to soothe sore throats
- Tea tree oil to fight further infection
- Peppermint or eucalyptus oil to clear congestion
- Frankincense, cinnamon, or sandalwood to reduce general inflammation
Dry air contributes to nosebleeds, dry sinuses, and cracked lips. Therefore, investing in a small humidifier is a fantastic way to support yourself along your healing journey. We like this Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier. Stash it in a convenient place — say your bedside table or closet — and whip it out whenever you start to feel stuffy.
Vitamin C Packets
There’s no denying that vitamin C is a critical nutrient and ally to your immune system. Because it is an antioxidant, it helps your body battle illness by capturing cell-damaging free radicals. And while the nutrient isn’t magic, researchers have found that taking a vitamin C supplement might reduce the duration of a cold by about 8% in adults and 18% in children. (That means you might feel better about 13 hours sooner during an illness that typically lasts seven full days.)
Tissues are yet another sick day staple. And after scouring the convenience store shelves, we’ve decided that Puffs Basic Facial Tissues are the best. Not only are these all-around tissues stronger and softer than most of their competition, but they come in convenient packages and happen to be the cheapest per tissue.
To prevent germs from spreading throughout the house, wash your hands thoroughly, wash your clothes and sheets in hot water, and disinfect any surfaces that are touched. We like Branch Basics for a non-toxic, sustainable cleaning option that’s fragrance-free, human-safe, non-GMO, not tested on animals, biodegradable, and made without harmful preservatives.
Comfy Clothes and Throw Blankets
Sick days are best spent cuddled up on the couch or bed. Therefore, make sure to have your comfiest sweatpants, sweaters, socks, robes, and throw blankets ready to go.
In addition to vitamin C, zinc and probiotics are great for boosting your immune system and offering a bit of cold relief. Not only should you keep immune-boosting supplements in your medicine cabinet, but taking them daily can help prevent sickness from occurring in the first place. (Of course, make sure to check with your healthcare provider first.)
Epsom Salts and Shower Tablets
Soups, Liquids, and Pre-Made Meals
When you’re feeling sick, the last thing you probably want to do is cook yourself a meal. So, instead of relying on takeout, make it easy on yourself by keeping a supply of chicken noodle soup and/or healthy frozen meals on hand. Additionally, stock up on grape juice concentrate to kill stomach bugs and orange juice concentrate to boost the immune system.
While waterproof pads are usually reserved for bed wetting, they’re a lifesaver on sick days. Spread them over your couch or bed (or wherever you choose to lounge) to prevent germs from spreading. Of course, they also save you from having to do an immediate load of laundry.
Sick Day Essentials Tool Kit for Moms
With this sick day kit in tow, you’ll be ready whenever sickness strikes. Know that preparing ahead of time will save ample time and energy – which becomes unbelievably valuable when you don’t feel great.
Make things easy on yourself by keeping the essentials on hand. That way, all you have to worry about is taking a break, drinking a cup of tea, putting your feet up, and of course, resting yourself back to optimal health.