King County has excellent guidelines (in several languages) for how to prepare for flu. If you’re at risk, get vaccinated. Wash your hands frequently, and make sure those around you (especially kids) wash their hands. Wipe down doorknobs, telephones, keyboards, and other surfaces. If you’re sick, STAY HOME. Ask someone else to run to the grocery store, pick up the kids, or take care of other errands.
I’ll add some practical tips (also useful for anyone expecting a baby or otherwise planning to be housebound for a while). Even with limited space and/or a limited budget, it’s possible to plan ahead. Be creative.
- Stock up on household supplies. Buy extra toilet paper, tissue, cleaning supplies, etc while on sale. Have at least a week’s reserve stored, if possible.
- Remember pets–have litter, food, and other essentials available in case you can’t make it to the store for a few days.
- Keep a supply of medications on hand: pain/fever reducers, over-the-counter remedies, and prescription medications. Even if you don’t usually take OTC medications, buy a bottle of cold/flu reliever and some fever reducer. You can always give it away at the end of the season.
- Print out a contact list of doctors/health care providers, including phone numbers, addresses, and emergency/after hours contact info. Make copies of insurance info & include in this folder.
- Print out a list of friends/family/neighbors who can help. Be a helpful friend/neighbor–offer your contact information to those on your block in case of emergency.
- Keep a collection of light reading, movies, games, etc. hidden in a cupboard. You’ll appreciate this when you’re well enough to be bored, but too sick to go out.
- Fill a box with soup, crackers, gatorade, and other easy-to-eat non-perishable items.
I didn’t need to call anyone to walk Tica or run to Red Apple for juice. Shane and I were sick at different times, so we were able to take care of each other. It was a relief to know who I could call if I needed help. I’m grateful to have connections with neighbors who care.