Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by Johna Jenkins, a nurse practitioner, and the co-founder of our sister brand A Plan for Health.
Today I want to talk about how to prepare for life’s unexpected moments of illness for you and your loved ones! I’m going to teach you how to create an Illness Kit for your home!
When you or a family member is unwell, the last thing you’ll want to do is dig through your medicine cabinet or scramble to purchase more essential supplies. You’ll likely have a lot of these items on hand already. By gathering it all in one spot, you’ll feel more prepared! Preparation helps us act quickly on behalf of the health of our loved ones.
Below are items that might come in handy in case you come down with any of the current common illnesses: COVID, Upper Respiratory Infections, GI bugs. Most importantly, if you feel unwell, reach out to your medical provider for guidance on how to treat your illness. Upper respiratory illnesses and gastrointestinal bugs tend to strike quickly and unexpectedly.
Whitney put together a first aid and illness kit for a friend and wrapped it in a pretty bow! We always suggest putting together this kit as part of cleaning out your medicine cabinet. Get rid of old medications, make a list of anything you’re missing, and gather all your supplies so you have things together.
These are suggestions for a general illness kit!
Thermometer: Always great to have on hand
Pain Relievers: This could include Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. If you also choose to add Nyquil or Dayquil, be aware that they also contain Acetaminophen, so be careful not to overdose or take additional Acetaminophen on top of that. As for aspirin, do not use this in children under 16 years old.
Saline Nasal Spray: Make sure this is sterile when you purchase it. Also, when you are over this illness (or within a few days), you will want to dispose of the spray bottle as it would be harboring those germs you just fought off!
Salt: This comes in handy for warm salt water gargles when you have a sore throat.
Throat Drops: There are a plethora of choices here. Personally, I like the Vitamin C and elderberry drops. Note: do not give cough drops to small children, as these can be a choking hazard for them.
Lemon tea bags and honey: These are wonderful for soothing a scratchy sore throat. Note: do not give honey to children under one year old, as there is a risk of botulism.
Disposable toothbrush: You’ll need a new toothbrush, once you are done with your illness. Did you know that with strep throat, you should change your toothbrush after being on an antibiotic for 24 hours? Many people reinfect themselves with strep because they miss this step.
Tissues: Personal preference — lotion, Vicks infused, plain. Get something soft so you don’t end up with an even more chapped nose from rough tissues.
Decongestant: These work great, BUT this is tricky — you should most definitely ask your medical provider before taking a decongestant because SO many things can interfere with it, even aside from high blood pressure such as other medications (both prescription and over the counter), and many illnesses such as glaucoma, enlarged prostates, bladder issues, heart issues, etc. This also goes for children as well — ask your medical provider.
Health Tracker Notebook: I keep an extra Health Tracker Notebook with our illness kit. This helps me keep track of medications and dosages when one of the kiddos is sick!
Hand Sanitizer: So you hopefully cut down the risk of giving it to others in your home.
Vicks Vaporub: grandma’s secret weapon, no?
Facemask(s): a staple in every home right now. Keep an extra one in your kit in case all of your washable ones are dirty.
Pedialyte Powder Sticks: just add water! Gatorade may taste better, but these have less sugar.
Pepto-Bismol: As with any medication, ask your doctor before using. While this helps relieve an upset stomach and sometimes diarrhea, it also has a select set of people whom it would be contraindicated in.
Hand Sanitizer: Nobody wants to catch the stomach virus!
Chapstick: Buy bulk and keep the extras in the medicine cabinet so everyone can find them.
Peppermint Essential Oil: Dilute with a carrier oil if you use it on skin. Ask an essential oils guide if you are unsure about how to use it!
I hope this list helps you gather and prepare a general illness kit for your family! You can find a spot in your medicine cabinet to store all these items together. Or grab a cute bin or basket to corral everything!