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How To Survive the Flu

Have you heard? A nasty flu is going around.  I caught the bug from my 5-year-old a couple days after Christmas. It’s a doozy. But I lived to tell the tale and you will too. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but you’ll come out on the other side of it stronger, better, and with a renewed zest for life.

I have been afflicted with The Backache Flu for almost a week. It’s different from the Throw-Up Flu, which is also going around. (Bleh. Don’t get that.) You’ll know you have the Backache Flu because of the distinct backache which accompanies it, hence the name. Your back will hurt and you’ll start coughing and wincing in pain as the retching cough compromises said aching back muscles and, possibly, your bladder control. It’s a whole thing. It’s not pretty.

Take heart. It’s not the end of the world. Here’s how to get through it.

(By the way, I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on Babble.)


  • Take Ibuprofen 1 of 8
    Take Ibuprofen
    I know you have faith in your trusty neti pot and you've been dying to try the Apple Cider Vinegar miracle elixir from Pinterest. Save those for the common cold. If you have the backache flu you need big medicine. You need ibuprofen all day and all night. Do you want to know how I knew it was time to dose myself? When I was holding back tears and thought I was dying. Medicine makes it better. No need for heroics.
    Photo Credit: iStock
  • Shower 2 of 8
    Shower
    Admittedly, I didn't shower every day. But when I managed to take a shower I felt better. A hot shower is soothing and standing upright for a while clears your sinuses. Plus, taking a shower gives you something to do in between lolling about and napping. And it feels better to be less gross and stinky.
    Photo Credit: MorgueFile
  • Stay in Pajamas 3 of 8
    Stay in Pajamas
    Just because you showered, that doesn't mean you should get dressed. You need to put on clean, warm pjs every day and stay in them. This signals to your kids that you really are out of commission. The Backache Flu is not to be trifled with. It's not your run-of-the-mill cold that can be beaten by a positive attitude and a little lip gloss. Lay down before you fall down.
    Photo Credit: iStock
  • Eat a Little 4 of 8
    Eat a Little
    Remember, this is not the throw up flu. You need nourishment. You might not feel very hungry but eating a little something will make you feel better and it's better to take medicine with some food. I ate a lot of oatmeal during my confinement.
    Photo Credit: MorgueFile
  • Don’t Exert Yourself 5 of 8
    Don't Exert Yourself
    My daughter had come down with something and my throat was just started to get sore, but I shoveled snow anyway. That was a mistake. I should have been conserving my strength. When my back muscles started to contort and ache I thought I had gotten a great workout from the shoveling. What a laugh! Don't make the same mistakes I made. Rest. You might be next.
    Photo Credit: MorgueFile
  • Spare Facebook Your Symptoms 6 of 8
    Spare Facebook Your Symptoms
    I know it's interesting to you, but please don't delineate your symptoms and their duration on Facebook. It's boring. And no one cares. And unless Facebook is a secret front for the CDC that has been effectively collecting data on who has a tickle in their throat and who just got a runny nose we are effectively aiding and abetting hypochondriacs with every pitiful status update. Stop it. Just stop it.
  • Don’t Cough 7 of 8
    Don't Cough
    A doctor once told me that the only way to stop coughing is to stop coughing. I know that doesn't really help you, but sometimes you think you'll just let yourself cough in order to scratch that little throat itch. Sometimes you think it will help. Maybe in some cases it is productive to cough. But with the backache flu you do not want to cough. Coughing is death. Don't let a little one out. Try not to cough. Easier said than done, I know—but try. And for the love of Pete, take some Nyquil at night. You won't be sorry.
    Photo Credit: iStock
  • Lay Down 8 of 8
    Lay Down
    You can't beat this thing through sheer force of will. I know you're tough and you want to try but you will fail. You must surrender to it. You must lay in bed and do nothing. You'll be too weak to read. Maybe you can watch TV (Dr. Who marathon, anyone?). I'm here to tell you that after a few days you will get better. And you will be happy to be up and about and excited to put the Christmas decorations away. Your new zest for life is hard-won and enduring. Salud!
    Photo Credit: iStock

Read more of my writing at Babble and at my blog, Every Day I Write the Book.

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