Saturday, November 2, 2013

The flu is coming: Stock your pantry!


Have you gotten your flu shot yet? Or do you believe the shot is worse than the flu?  See this map? 

Uh, oh. It's already gone from no reports to sporadic. The flu is coming for you.

It’s now November. The CDC is telling you it's time. Every drugstore, Target, Walmart and doctor’s office is telling you it’s time. The flu is just around the corner. Yep, those germs are lurking behind every cough, on every door handle, in the air. For goodness sake, don’t touch anything! Wash your hands. Cough into your elbow. Stop breathing!

I am one of those people who gets her flu shot every year.  I got the flu late in the 2002 season and ended up pretty much bedridden for six months.  We always hear about the number of deaths the flu causes but never about the 100,000 or so folks it affects in less permanent ways.

As a former microbiologist I LOVE reading about the most famous influenza pandemics of all time, the one that spread across the world in 1918 and 1919.  With so many books being set in that era these days, more and more authors are touching on the disease in their novels. Nothing like almost death bed confessions of love!

One of my favorite romances dealing with the outbreak in the US is Homefront Hero by Allie Pleiter.


I adore this book and not just for the pandemic. Lovely. Get the ebook here.

Speaking of love, when November rolls around I know it is time to stock up on foods that help if the flu or other respiratory illness hits.  Man O can’t run to the store for me because of the preservatives, corn sugar or wheat. The poor guy is totally flummoxed. It’s better if I just tell him where to go in the pantry or freezer.

So here is my list of go to items:

Chicken stock

Chicken stock-ed. And a big container in case a pandemic hits.

No stock with preservatives for me. I throw a picked over roaster chicken (ie, the skeleton) in a pot with 16 cups of water, an onion, a clove of fresh garlic, three tablespoons salt. (I don't add other spices until I use the stock for soup.) Heat to boiling then cover and turn down to medium. Cook over the stove for four hours, covered. Watch to make sure you don't let the pot go dry. That's where the cover comes in handy.  Place pot in an ice bath to cool and immediately put in glass containers and freeze. Make sure to follow good food sanitation. You don't want to get sick from what is supposed to make you feel better.   

English Afternoon Tea and Honey

I won't tell you how many boxes of tea are in my pantry. I am prepared for daily afternoon tea AND the flu.


Lozenges made with honey or non-corn sugars

I found the Lovely brand fruit lozenges at our local Fresh Market and the honey candy from a local honey producer.

Crackerish things

I have lovely almond crackers I make but they don't last long. Have I mentioned ManO isn't so sure about making my special recipes? So I cut him some slack and pretend all-natural potato chips or rice crackers are my saltines.  I miss saltines and Campbells chicken noodle soup. Reminds me of my childhood. Sniff.

Sparkly soda and fruit juice

I'm fortunate to be near stores with all natural sodas and organic fruit juices. But I try not to overdo these things when I get sick. All that sugar is not helpful to the body when it's trying to recover. Still, they are part of my emergency preparedness.

Are you prepared for the illnesses winter brings? What do you make sure to have on hand with folks come down with fevers, aches and chills? Do you have some home remedies that have been passed down? Or ones you've had to give up because of the ingredients?   

 





38 comments:

  1. Note to self. Get flu shot. Putting on calendar. This is the first year I don't have an employer to remind me to sign up. I AM MY EMPLOYER.

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    1. I used to get them through my husband's workplace but couldn't this year. It was a relief to finally get myself to the local Target and get er done. Nothing like being self-employed, huh?

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    2. Definitely write it down! I got mine in September or early October as soon as they got the vaccine in. They offered them at the high school this year so my daughter got hers there. I keep texting and emailing my sons about once a week trying to make sure they follow up.

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    3. Nothing like having to be a mom from a distance! How is your sickly son doing btw?

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    4. He's fine! Once they added a second antibiotic for the Strep, he felt better quickly.

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  2. Oh boy. This was timely. Just tonight, we're sitting in church for the All Saints' Day Mass. The little kids are very quiet. Maybe because it's late. My four year old says he needs to go to the bathroom. My husband takes him out. They come back and I think, "Edward looks pale." I glance up to see where we are with the communion line and whether we should stand up and... he coughs. A weird cough. That PRE-VOMIT cough. I grab a coat, hold it in front of him and.... yeah. Then the second wave. And another. who knew a four year old could hold that much?
    Then my three year old on the other side of me coughs that WEIRD COUGH and I grab another coat, but don't quiet make it, since I'm holding a gallon of vomit in another coat on the other side...

    My husband has a weak stomach. He backed away. Maybe I'll speak to him tomorrow.

    Maybe not.

    Wow. People were fleeing our area left and right. After it was all over, I carried them one by one to the bathroom, stripped and sponged them down. I always carry extra clothes for them... so at least the new car IS OKAY!

    That's the important thing, right? :P

    We got home and it hit the rest. Four kids down right now. We can call it the 2013 Munoz Pandemic.

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    1. Oh, praying for you. I know what it is like for the whole family to get sick but there is MORE of your family to fall ill. Praying healing mercy and strength!

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    2. Virginia, you can make the direst circumstances sound funny. Gentle (but compassionate) laughter this morning over your story. At least the whole lot of them are considerate enough to get sick at the same time. That way you can get it all over and done with but ohhhh...the coats!

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    3. Oh Virginia! You poor thing! LOL! I'm still laughing over the vision of you husband backing away. :) I think that automatically puts him on cleanup duty at home today. :)

      I hope your babies feel better soon and that poor mom doesn't get it!

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    4. Man, with six kids I know exactly what you're talking about. Oh, honey, I think Cruz gets the silent treatment for a VERY LONG TIME in the Blodgett house. BIG UGH....... Hugging you from afar, and when we had those stomach bugs ramming through our house, twice the washer broke down... as if in PROTEST. Oy. Oy. Oy.

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  3. I feel goofy since I only have one child and he hasn't coughed that way before, so I don't know that I would know it. Still ever since his bout with the flu six years ago that put us in the ER we get flu shots.

    And Julie, chickens have bones, not skeletons.....if I thought of them I wouldn't be able to have any to eat.....

    Piper

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    1. Sorry, it was Halloween getting to me!

      The flu is scary, isn't it?

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    2. LOL, Piper! Whole chickens and turkeys bother me for that reason. :)

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    3. Yall would have never survived on the prairie!

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    4. No, Julie, I wouldn't have made it. The first time I wrestled a turkey around the sink trying to wash it (I don't do that anymore btw), I was nearly in tears because it felt like a live bird moving around!! Lol

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    5. Great. Now I have that image in my head!!!!! Thanks, Missy!

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    6. You're welcome, Julie. :) LOL

      Turkeys and I don't have a very good history. One made me cry again this past Thanksgiving when it was still frozen solid that morning!

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  4. I still don't know what to think about the flu shot. I've never had one before. I hate the idea of messing with my immune system. Yes, that's paranoid, I know. Sigh.

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    1. No, it isn't. I was the same as you for a long time. And folks who are older need a stronger shot because of their immune system. But they also are the ones most affected by the side effects of the illness.

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    2. I never got it either until I got really, really sick with the flu about 15 years ago. It knocked me out for about a month. After that I decided I'd do anything to prevent it.

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    3. Yup. Who knew? And this was back when we were young!!!!

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  5. I never think to be prepared other than than with over the counter cold medicines and cough drops. I do try to keep cans of soup in the cabinet and saltines in the pantry. When my college freshman son came home very sick a couple of weeks ago, I was thankful for those staples.

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  6. Another thing I usually remember to keep on hand is yogurt. It's helpful in case someone ends up on antibiotics. And also is good with sore throats.

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    1. Yep, but never go on yogurt until intestinal stuff is settled a bit. Dairy can wreck havoc.

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  7. I have never gotten a flu shot.

    I've gotten flu twice. I'm counting last fall's illness although it wasn't diagnosed formally, and the last time was nearly thirty years ago. I get colds from the wee monsters, but the flu thing hasn't happened but those two times and I shrug off the shot. Now as I get older (as in what???? 100??????) (laughing!) maybe I'll do it. Maybe I won't. I will get the shingles shot because I'm a big baby. Whaaa! Whaaaa! Whaaaaa!!!!! So pain is not my friend. But I'm glad I'm not alone in not getting the shot. I hate that it's not always effective, and then you've messed things up for no reason. Mind you I'm WRONG more than I'm right, way more, so do not listen to me, ever. Except about old fashioned rugs and oak tables, both of which I bought today at an antique co-op. #determinedtohavediningroom !!!!

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    1. You have the working-with-wee-ones immune system. I taught preschool and was deathly ill the first couple of years. Not thereafter. Whew.

      Can't wait to see the dining room done for Thanksgiving. And I love furniture coops. I mean co-ops. They are an idea whose time has definitely come.

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  8. Missy, hot lemonade. Sheesh, didn't I just tell you that one? So soothing... and it almost feels like medicine because it's well. Hot. Lemony. And kids think it's special. And warm Jello water. Mmm.... good. :) I think I've found a new love. Dip-n-sticks.... a great way to inject SUGAR into my diet, LOL! It's like a pixy stick in a pouch. With a stick. Who needs the stick, I just pour the pouch right into my mouth. Why waste time when sugar is involved????

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    1. Honey, lemon, water!!!!! You need the water too!

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    2. We did hot tea instead of lemonade. But I need to remember that warm jello trick next time. Y'all told me about it but we didn't have any jello in the cabinet. Julie, there's another to add to my list!

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  9. This is really interesting to read at the end of the day lol I'm 21 and we never ever ever got flu shots until.....I was a freshman in high school. I'm not sure how I feel about it either, Kav. I'm the type of person that goes, goes, goes brushing off colds and taking the best care of myself I can until it all goes south (really south!) and I end up flat on my back for a solid 5-7 days. I've always been that way. The perfect attendance kid until about.....mid-late April maybe even the beginning of May and then I'd miss a whole week of school. I don't consider it the flu, I think I've always just pushed myself hard.

    I guess since I work with the public (cashier) and kids, I feel like it might be a good idea. Like Ruthy, I'm not a baby about pain per se.....but I've been beaten down with pain LOL between rheumatoid arthritis and idiopathic intercranial hypertension that causes my headaches and migraines, I just don't wanna deal with it honestly! So I get my flu shot and *knock on wood* have been alright so far :)

    Besides, my sister and I were in that first generation to try out the chicken pox vaccination and neither of us have ever gotten them yet! Yay us! So I don't completely not believe in vaccines, sometimes they really can work!
    Hannah

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    1. It's all about taking care of ourselves isn't it?

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  10. Even though on your map report thingy (if it's current)......"No Activity" of the flu has been reported for Vermont yet - woohoo!!

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  11. I hate reading these kinds of posts and all the talk of flu shots because I can't get it. I'm allergic to the serum they make it in so the reaction was BAD! Doctor told me never to get it again.

    I stock up on Vitamin D and lots of natural remedies (herbs, spices, etc.) and pray for the best.

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  12. The winter after my hubby had bypass surgery his doctor said he should get the flu shot. I gave in a few years later and have had one every year since, except for the one winter when H1N1 was a separate threat and I just couldn't accept the idea of two different flu shots, one in each arm, at the same time, so I didn't get either. I did a lot of hand sanitizing that winter!

    I used to get a nasty cold once every half dozen years, but now that some of our family have moved closer and I see coughing children more often, I may find I'm not so lucky. Maybe I should lay in a supply of chicken soup and cold medications!

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    1. The sound of coughing is increasingly common up and down aisle s of stores here. Hugs and chicken soup to you.

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