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Stocking Up on H1N1 Provisions

I'm thinking of stocking up on provisions in case I get the flu. I got the idea from a pamphlet in the mail from the government and it actually struck me as a pretty good idea; I live alone, have no family in the area and most of my friends live on the opposite side of the city (so it would be a few hours out of their day if I needed them to buy something for me).

So... what kind of things should I stock up on? I have a fridge with a freezer, but not one of those big standalone freezers (the name eludes me).

(I'm a vegetarian, but meaty ideas might be of interest to other people.)

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  1. I am just now recovering from the flu, H1N1 or otherwise and I can tell you that it is no fun. Have a contingency plan with your friends to check up on you if you become ill. If you become very congested and your blood oxygen levels dip as mine did, you may or may not be able to decern that you are in trouble and call for help. I was lucky to have made a dr appointment and kept it. I was in such bad shape when I arrived my physician sent me via ambulance to the ER for treatment.

    So, stock up your home with foods you know will comfort you and nourish you when you are ill. Broths, soups, rice, toast, applesauce, teas, juices. Jello, yogurt or pudding if you can tolerate the dairy while ill, I cannot. Anything easliy opened and easily and quickly prepared because you won't have a lot of excess energy to be cooking. Freezing soups and broths, homemade, in single serving microwavable containers is good. Instant potatoes can get a person through a pinch.

    3 Replies
    1. re: KristieB

      This is what my pantry and freezer hold now. Perhaps that's because I live where we get snow in the winter and, while rarely homebound for more a day or two, we're always prepared for that. But honestly? No matter how benign, when I feel a little under the weather, I want my comfort foods right here in the kitchen. (Also just this minute saw on the news that only 50% of people with flu seek treatment from their doctors.)

      1. re: c oliver

        Most people with the flu don't need treatment from their doctors. Remember, the flu is a virus, which means antibiotics aren't any good, and antivirals are really only effective if you take them early on. Otherwise, there isn't a whole lot a doctor can do except provide supportive care. Unless you're developing a secondary illness like pneumonia, they're going to tell you to rest, drink lots of fluids, take something to keep the fever down, etc. I can do that at home without schlepping to the doctor and exposing a bunch of other people to the flu.

        I'm not saying you shouldn't see a doctor if you're developing severe symptoms, but most people don't get that sick.

        Uh, back on topic. What you like to eat when you're sick is pretty individualistic. I, personally, tend to crave applesauce, lime sherbet, and hot and sour soup. As others said, the main thing to do is keep hydrated and nibble on something salty.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Oh, my gosh. I NEED NEED some hot and sour soup right now. BAD. Ohhhhh...

    2. If you're really sick, you're not going to want to eat anything, but you need to stay hydrated. Electrolyte drinks are good, plus plenty of water. I find that I can eat saltines when I'm sick, although I never eat them when I'm well. (I think it's the salt.)

      1. I've only had the flu once; I do get terrible allergy side effects that usually leave my throat raw. The only things I feel like ingesting is warm oatmeal, smooth soups, tea and ginger ale (my favorite soda). My advice is that you know what you like when you're sick any other time, use that as a guide to stock up on those things. As the doctors say, you can live without food for a certain amount of time but you can't live without fluids especially if you have a fever so keep hydrated even if you don't want to eat.

        1. Even though I prefer home-made mashed potatoes, I'd probably grab some instant 'taters (instant is better than none, and if I'm that sick I'm not sure I'd be there enough to keep track of boiling potatoes) and chicken broth. Also juice boxes. For some reason when I'm sick, juice tastes better out of the box. You can drink them room-temp, and the serving size is just about right for slow sipping (small enough that if you get a cold one, it won't be warm by the time you are done with it)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Popkin

            Bendy straws for all that juice. My juice of choice when sick is 100% Concord grape juice. You can cut it with water. Also a bag of ice in the freezer would be helpful, if you don't have an ice maker.

          2. I have a stocked wine cellar, lots of brandy, case of Costco Chicken Soup. I should be good to go.

            1. Gatorade. Having had to drink ORS before, I would prefer to not repeat the experience. Gatorade diluted with water is a good substitute. If you're really dehydrated, water with a handful of sugar and a pinch of salt is better than plain water, but it's best to try to remain hydrated--which is difficult with a fever, particularly if you have cold symptoms as well. I also like popsicles for this reason.

              I just got over a nasty bout of bronchitis and pretty much lived on canned chicken broth, frozen orange juice, tea and Gatorade. Sometimes I could force down some rice in the broth, but usually not. Now if I could only keep off the ten pounds I lost.

              1. I agree Gatorade is great. They make individual serving size packets that you can mix with a bottle or glass of water. I have a few stored away as well as Hawaiin Punch which I like diluted. I usually have soup bones or ox tails in the freezer. I put them in the crock pot with water, garlic and ginger. I usually don't eat the meat if I'm too ill but I prefer the beef broth to chicken soup. Crackers and cookies are good to have on hand as well.

                  1. re: soupkitten

                    That's a good call. Kimchee especially!

                  2. My husband has in the past suggested that we try to strike a deal with the Swanson folks so that instead of buying their chicken broth by the 12-pack at Costco we just have a pipeline put straight into our house. We'd have three faucet handles: Hot, Cold, Broth. When I'm feeling down some chicken broth with rice (I would previously have cooked up some basmati brown in advance and frozen it in one cup increments) is always welcome. For hydration purposes, I'd make sure I had plenty of bottled green tea on hand. That's good cold or heated in the m/wave.

                    1. When I am really sick,in my case kidney infections rather than flu, the only food that is vaguely palatable is toast with butter, toast with butter, cinnamon and sugar, juice and sorbet. A person can live on that for a week.

                      1. Thanks for the ideas! I went to Superstore (a most Canadian tradition) and left feeling prepared for H1N1, an earthquake AND a nuclear attack! I bought:

                        - 4 litres orange juice
                        - 3 litres soy milk
                        - 6 cans of soup (all somehow combining veggies with beans or lentils)
                        - 1 box of instant cup-of-soup (4 individual packages)
                        - 1 jar pasta sauce
                        - 2 boxes whole wheat pasta
                        - 8 individual servings of pudding (4 each chocolate and butterscotch)
                        - 12 individual servings of applesauce
                        - 1 box high-fibre cereal
                        - 1 package mixed-grain hot cereal
                        - 1 loaf of (kill me now) pre-sliced whole wheat bread (for freezer)
                        - 1 box cookies topped with dark chocolate
                        - 2 boxes Swiss Cheese crackers (these are my special sick food)
                        - 3 packages vegetable ramen
                        - 6 boxes of Kleenex

                        I'm not someone who keeps a lot of stuff on hand, but chances are good I'll have some groceries left over from my weekly shop when The Big One hits and I'll be able to incorporate some other ingredients. I've got some minestrone and bean stew in my freezer already, and I've got lots of vegetable buillon around if I need some broth. I have about fifty types of non-black tea on hand as well, so I'll have lots of tea to choose from (and could brew some to keep iced in the fridge too).

                        Now I'm going to take all the non-perishables, pack them up and put them somewhere where I won't be tempted to eat them. Things like canned soup and Swiss Cheese crackers rarely cross my doorstep, therefore I'm thinking I'll need a plan to keep myself from eating everything this weekend!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Jetgirly

                          What a great idea! You can put the non perishables in a box and tape a list to the front of what's inside.

                          If you have a hot water urn, fill it up in the morning and plug it in. That way, whenever you want tea or instant soup or a cup of something hot, all you have to do is pour yourself a cup. It's there when you need it..

                        2. Jack Daniel's, honey, and lemon for the inevitable cough. It tastes better than Robitussin and helps you sleep.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: James Cristinian

                            I prefer brandy but yeah. Once, when REALLY sick, I put a shot of brandy in my mug of Thera-Flu.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              You are my kind of woman! That's something I would do.

                          2. Acidolphilus tablets; much much more effective than yogurt or other cultured products in helping reestablish normal intenstinal functioning after high fever kills things off.

                            1. After one winter where a bad ice storm & blizzard knocked out truck deliveries for five days, we now stockpile our pantry & freezer in the fall. It generally doubles as a back up plan if we can't leave because we are sick. Our whole house already got H1N1. Since we had bought milk and such a few days before we got sick we didn't need to leave.

                              We keep frozen home made soup in the freezer. Having some baked goods in the freezer and instant potatoes on hand would be my preferred flu type foods.

                              1. I would just like to announce that Swiss Cheese crackers have been in my house for three days now, and I haven't touched them! Yay for me! They should have awards for Best Self-Restraint When Faced With Swiss Cheese Crackers!