Saturday, October 26, 2019

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - The Cold and Flu Pantry

I had a reminder of the need for a Cold and Flu "Pantry" this week when I woke up one day with terrible vertigo with the usual side affects of nausea and extreme dizziness.  It was the worse I'd experienced in years and pretty much kept me sitting in a chair or sleeping on the sofa for two days.  The vertigo is caused by liquid in the inner ear, most likely caused by a bad sinus infection at one time according to my doctor.

The experience, while quite unpleasant, got me to thinking about the need to stock a Cold and Flu "Pantry" again since we are on the verge of our first snow here in the Midwest.  It won't stay around long but it is a reminder that the season is nearly upon us.

I have set aside most needed items for when sickness hits on one shelf but I've found having what I need in a good size Rubbermaid container works better.  One that is big enough to hold what I want to stock but still fits easily on a shelf in the garage.  When needed, I can bring the container in the house. 

I'll be adding a few items on my shopping list for Stock Up Day but I do usually have most of these items always on hand.

Here are some of the items I always try to have available to give you an idea.

Cans of soup, especially chicken soup.
(I usually make homemade soup but if I'm feeling too bad to cook, canned soup is a lifesaver!  I also keep homemade chicken broth in the freezer whenever possible.)

Diet Vernors or other ginger ale (for me)
Regular ginger ale (for others)
Peppermint tea (especially Candy Cane Lane tea)

Favorite crackers (these grow stale quickly so they need to be replaced every couple months).  Oyster crackers are particularly good for nausea since you can nibble a little at a time.

Granola bars, protein bars, etc. are especially important for someone taking insulin but can be good for anyone needing a quick pick me up when blood sugar is low for any reason.

One or two boxes of your favorite cold cereal (I find Cheerios a good cereal to keep for when I'm sick since I can also eat it without the need for milk.)

Canned fruit in its own juice (easy to keep down when sick)

Kleenex or other tissues (I use a store brand)

Your favorite cold and flu medicine such as aspirin (for those over age 18), Tylenol, Children's cold medicines when appropriate, Cough syrup, Cough drops (my favorite is Ricola original cough drops),  Traditional Medicinal's Throat Coat Tea, etc.

Antibacterial wipes for keeping hands and surfaces that are often touched by the sick people in the family clean.  I do not use antibacterial hand cleaners or soap regularly but I do if there is someone ill around.

I keep dinners in the freezer to pop in the oven or microwave when I'm not feeling well, anyway.  That's why I like to freeze soup, chili (which is fine unless I have the flu!), etc. in containers for the deep freeze.  I still make a full recipe for soup, chili, etc. so there is usually plenty to fill a container to freeze for later.

I bought freezer safe deli containers just for that purpose last Spring.  They work great as long as you leave space between the food and the lid for expansion.

I also like to have a few prepared items in the deep freeze such as a frozen pizza (our favorite is the Newman's Own brand), Stouffer's frozen casseroles, etc.  They are priceless for days I can't cook dinner.  I do have to be careful about msg in products, though.

I often already have fruit, cheese, veggies, and crackers for "off days" that come with having a chronic illness.  Sometimes I'll have sliced ham, sliced turkey, salami, etc. on hand.  My kids grew up on these kinds of meals once in awhile, sometimes with a loaf of good bread instead of crackers.

I hope this gives you ideas to build on for creating your own Cold & Flu "Pantry".

Mentioned in this Blog Post
Extreme Freeze 32 oz. Deli container... here.
These have worked great!  The only time I had a problem was when I filled the container without leaving space for expansion and the lid popped off.  That was my fault.  I caught it in time and just moved it to the refrigerator and served the chili the next day.  I use and reuse these often.

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ImageFeathered Friends by Mary Smith


Anonymous said...

Sometimes jello is good if someone can't keep much else down.Hot tea and honey is good for a sore throat.

Vee said...

Oh dear! I have been down with vertigo much of the day. I am sorry that you have had troubles as well with it, albeit for different reasons. Being dizzy is awful. I am happy to say that I am feeling better and I sure hope that you are. Your lists for being prepared are among my favorites. I must look into those containers for freezing meals. Mine are totally inadequate.

Anonymous said...

I have had vertigo the way you describe. It comes from allergens or other build up in inner ear. I start to take mucinex ( over the counter) and I always always sleep with my head propped up to keep ears drained. My bed is mechanical and I can also raise the upper portion to keep my ears drained also. Hope this helps. Stress brings on vertigo too. Wishing you well.

Gretchen said...

I try to keep my "illness pantry" stocked as well. I usually start by going through the items I already have and getting rid of anything that has expired, such as aspirin, Tylenol or other cold and flu medicines. Then I make a list of what I need. You listed several things I hadn't thought of. I will add them to my list!

One other note on things that get stale such as crackers or cereal. A family member told me to freeze them. She does this all the time. I was skeptical, I couldn't imagine that a cracker would come out of the freezer being anything but soggy. But I tried it for myself and they come out just as fresh and crisp as when you bought them. Now I buy saltine crackers again. I used to buy them and would end up getting rid of half the box because they went stale before we ate them. Now I just take one sleeve out and freeze the rest. This also works great for cold cereal and chips.

Margie from Toronto said...

I've been doing the same. Whenever I got a good deal towards loyalty points at my favourite drugstore over the past few weeks I've been stocking up.
Tylenol, both extra strength & arthritis strength, vitamins, throat lozenges, hot water bottle, antacids, polysporin cream, eyedrops etc.
And at the grocery store I've been concentrating on canned items for the pantry, soups, fruit and fruit juice especially.
I've got a couple of servings of soup in the freezer already, with more planned for this week.
It is well worth the effort to plan ahead.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I always stock calls and steal medicines, and recently replaced things that were missing. We’re now stocked up cough drops cough medicine sinus medicine. I don’t often think of the food aspect of it. And it’s giving me something to think about and plan for, because I am the one who’s got a cold right now and yet people expect to eat!