Be Prepared: It’s Cold, Flu, and Allergy Season

Cold and flu season has arrived.  For some (like yours truly) allergy season is year-round and the allergens just change from mold to pollen to ragweed to dust. Whether cold, flu, or allergy similar complaints prevail with the stuffy nose-sneezing-achy-coughing scenario.

While I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, I do have a few pearls of wisdom to impart, both on the organizational side of this topic as well as the health side of it.

TISSUES. Do you have tissues in the house?  Do you have EXTRA tissues in the house?  This is one of those things you MUST have.  If you need some put it on your shopping list.  I am a big list person.  (A shout out to my mom, of blessed memory, for this habit).  I know some people just tear off toilet paper and use that in place of tissues, but this creates potential paper shortages in the bathroom which can be quite problematic. I will not elaborate further.

I am NOT suggesting going to work or school sick!  Obviously, one should stay home. However, people do have allergies and sneezing is a natural part of life, so be prepared for when the sneeze comes. Bring a box of tissues to work.  Send kids to school with their own tissue stash.  DO NOT depend on the teacher to provide them.  After 20 years in a classroom the big ACHOOO, the covered nose, and the urgently flapping hand indicating tissue SOS is all too familiar.


  • Check expiration dates.  If it is outdated, chuck it.  I know some people say “companies put dates on products to make you buy more” but do keep in mind that products don’t last forever and the chemical components change over time. Since things expire, I don’t suggest buying in bulk for anything in the medicine cabinet except for maybe band-aids, which don’t expire and one can never have enough of those.
  • Take stock. Do you have medicine to relieve cold and flu symptoms? Allergy medication?  Throat lozenges? Pain relief? Gastrointestinal relief? Children’s products? Add anything you need to your list.

Besides your tissues and medicinal relief I recommend having on hand:

  • Neti pot.  It looks like an Aladdin lamp.  You fill it with warm salty water.  Lean over the sink with your head tipped and pour water into one nostril.  Then blow to expel all the gunk into the sink.  I learned about this years ago when I took a yoga class.  Google a video to for a more visual explanation.
  • Eucalyptus Oil.  A few drops in the shower, bath, or in a diffuser works wonders and helps you breathe again.  You can put drop on your wrist or chest, too (use a carrier oil).  Vicks Vapor rub is also good to use and if you don’t have Vicks, Tiger Balm works well, too.
  • Honey.  Tea with honey and lemon is something Mom and Grandma always said to drink.  If you don’t like the tea, at least have the lemon and honey available.
  • Homemade chicken soup.  It’s the Jewish penicillin. If you are vegan or vegetarian, well, skip this one.  You paleo folks can still partake.  Plan ahead–cook now and freeze in serving-size containers for the proverbial rainy day.  When you’re under the weather who wants to cook?
  • Immune boosters: Vitamin C, zinc, Vitamin D, echinacea, etc.

My kids love a book called ‘The Grandma Cure’ by Pamela Mayer.  It’s about a little girl home from school with a cold.  Her grandmothers argue over which is best for their granddaughter-orange juice or tea with lemon and honey or rice pudding or chicken soup. Bottom line: they’re all good.  If any of these cold comfort foods make you feel better have them on hand.

Wishing all my readers a healthy winter!  For those in Israel I invite you to read my post helping you navigate the products you will find here in the pharmacy.  See the Aliyah Files #27 for OTC meds for fever, aches, and pains.


edited December 17, 2018
edited January 23, 2022

Published by Karen Furman

Philosophy = Your home should be organized so you know where things are, to the degree that you feel relaxed and not stressed in your space. Method = A combination of Marie Kondo + FlyLady + my own style. YOU make the decisions. YOU decide what to keep and not to keep. I help provide clarity. Attitude = Positive, enthusiastic, non-judgmental

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