Damn the flu!
December 26, 2007 6:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm sick of the flu. What will speed my recovery?

I'm sick of being sick. I've had the flu for nearly 2 weeks, and I'm finally going to the doctor tomorrow (he could just now get me in). I've coughed so much that my ribs and stomach hurt, and I just ache all over. Even my hair hurts!

I don't feel like eating anything. But if I don't eat, won't I just get worse? What can I eat that will revive me -- even a little bit -- and won't make me gag. I mean, no food sounds good. Only ginger ale, and I'm not sure that's very nutritious. To compound matters, Mr. Smalltown Girl is getting the flu, too, so he doesn't feel very nurse-like.

I'm going to go curl up in bed now and whimper.
posted by Smalltown Girl to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Apples, possibly with a mild cheese.
Mashed or baked potatoes.
Milk, cold or warm, plain, chocolate, or honey.
Mac'n'cheese, out of a box.
Cereals, cold or warm, optionally with honey. (Corn flakes, porridge, etc.)
Toast, soft and buttery, optionally with honey--white bread, pita bread, or potato rolls.

I usually go for the warm foods when I feel chilled, and the cool foods when I feel feverish, so it helps to have some of both around.

Also, I spend a lot of time in the shower with the water temperature turned all the way up, being baked seems to make me feel like I've got a little more energy left for things like thinking and breathing.
posted by anaelith at 6:53 PM on December 26, 2007

But if I don't eat, won't I just get worse?

I'm not sure what the data would say on that. There is some data that eating or not eating alters the immune response, but it's not really clinically applicable.

By the time you're fully recovered, you will have lost a pretty good amount of body weight--both fat and muscle. While you're not eating, your body is using your muscle and fat for energy, and at an even higher rate because you're ill.

Ginger ale or saltines or whatever you can tolerate will give your body a bit of carbs and glucose, but if it is the flu, all we've got for you at this point (this far into the illness) is get lots of rest, lots of fluids, and if you didn't get one this year, get a flu shot next year and wash your hands often! Get well soon!
posted by gramcracker at 7:28 PM on December 26, 2007

Chicken soup, plenty of water, acetaminophen/paracetamol, bed, bed, bed.
posted by not_on_display at 7:30 PM on December 26, 2007

oh, i hate this feeling. don't panic, but i once had the flu for 6 weeks. i have never been so miserable.

some things i found palatable:

soups--esp. tomato (for vitamin c) and chicken broth (for protein)
pasta with butter and salt. toss some frozen veggies into the pasta pot for the last few minutes for some vitamins. cook the pasta in broth for extra protein.
tea and lemon tisanes with a cough drop dissolved in it
ice cream or pudding--if you have no appetite, you'll want calorie-dense foods. in this case, the sugar rush will help a lot.

also, take tylenol for the fever and aches, and a cough suppressant. i find this would revive me for a couple of hours so i could do things like change my sheets (do this often--it makes such a difference!) and shower and maybe even run a couple of errands. then i'd crash and have to sleep for a couple of hours. just pop another couple of tylenol before you nap so you wake up feeling human.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:32 PM on December 26, 2007

To me, the two morphine elixirs of flu are herbal tea and the dextromethorphan formulation Theraflu. I advise going easy on the formulations containing analgesics as I've found they make the stomach a little uneasy after 5-6 consecutive doses. Also I've found that changing out the bedsheets to get rid of the "sickness aura" and getting fresh air regularly helps a lot.

Hope you both get well soon!
posted by chips ahoy at 7:41 PM on December 26, 2007

Apparently Chicken soup and Echinacea might help. Or maybe not, I don't know.

Personally, I like that Thera-flu stuff in hot water. Just keep in mind that it's loaded with Acetaminophen (Tylenol), which means you shouldn't take any additional Tylenol on top of it. You wouldn't want to accidentally damage your liver.
posted by exhilaration at 7:45 PM on December 26, 2007

IANAD (so take this advice at your own risk) but here's my mother's old school remedy. I'm not saying it will cure you, but it will definitely give you a little pep back to your step. Two multivitamins, 3 Vitamin C tablets (500 mg each) 2 to 4 echinacea tablets, and 2 aspirin, all at the same time. 8 hours later, hit the Vitamin C again.

For future reference, if you'll keep this stuff handy in your medicine cabinet, and take it at the very first sign of a scratchy throat or cough, it will most certainly boost your immune system enough to nip it in the bud before it has a chance to start. It's basically the same as the Airborne they sell, but on steroids.
posted by Ugh at 7:51 PM on December 26, 2007

Eating is important, and it is really important that you make sure to drink plenty of fluids. But there isn't anything that will make you get well faster.

It's been said that of all the things that won't help the flu, whiskey is the best...
...but I wouldn't know about that. Me, I think hot buttered rum would be even better, especially to soothe your throat.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:43 PM on December 26, 2007

Nasal irrigation. Soup or broth (as long as it is light). Ibuprofen if you have aches or fever. Rest. Hot shower. Breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water. Rest. Vitamin C. Drink water frequently. Rest.

I hope you feel btter.
posted by zerobyproxy at 9:05 PM on December 26, 2007

Get Plenty of fluids. Try Gatorade. You may want to water it down a bit if its too flavory for you. Try a clear liquid diet if you are having a hard time eating anything else. Jello, Sprite, Popsicles, tea, broth, and juice to name a few. Get plenty of rest. Hope that you feel better soon!
posted by Snoogylips at 9:20 PM on December 26, 2007

I've had good luck with that Zycam stuff, but there are some horror stories about it online so yoy may want to read up first.
I also superchug gatorade or vitamin water when sick, and hit the vit. c hardcore. (2000 mg a day at least). Dehydration helps no one.
posted by Kellydamnit at 10:07 PM on December 26, 2007

i feel you, i'm just getting over a 10-day flu myself. my advice:

eat advil and dayquil liqui-gels. stay warm: use a heating pad if need be.
drink tons of water, ginger ale, and iced tea.

the foods i enjoyed during this trying time:
frosted mini-wheats with milk
pomegranates, watermelon slices, strawberries, clementines
chocolate pudding with banana slices in it
oatmeal with applesauce
mango sorbet
microwave pizzas

and every day, i drank a concoction made of several slices of fresh ginger, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a big spoonful of honey in a glass of hot water.

oh, and get someone to bring you a copy of the flight of the conchords DVD- jermaine clement was by far my favourite drug this week. feel better soon!
posted by twistofrhyme at 12:21 AM on December 27, 2007

You need the BRAT diet: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. Perfect for all your gastrointestinal problems...
posted by RussHy at 5:07 AM on December 27, 2007

Response by poster: Oh, you guys are the best medicine ever! Thanks for all the wonderful remedies, ideas and feel-good foods. You (and my doctor) have made me like life again. Amazing how such little things, like changing the sheets, can improve one's well-being. Of course, I had to nudge old Mr. Smalltown Girl out of bed so we could put fresh sheets on, but he appreciated it, too. He agrees...

Mefites rule!
posted by Smalltown Girl at 10:41 AM on December 27, 2007

Push fluids and sleep. You might also consider getting a new doctor. You shouldn't have to wait two weeks to see your doctor when you're sick.
posted by wheat at 2:50 PM on December 27, 2007

Zicam swabs. I just got over my cold yesterday with the help of these guys, and it went by a few days faster than what I've had in the past.
posted by stewiethegreat at 10:48 PM on December 27, 2007

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