Not just hand sanitizers and toilet paper

March 15th, 2020

Right now, hand sanitizers and toilet paper are practically impossible to find.  However, here are some other items you may want to stock up on which you may not have considered and why.

  • Gatorade or pedialyte.  Infections that cause fevers get dramatically worse when dehydration sets in.  Both gatorade and pedialyte have electrolytes that can keep you from getting dehydrated.  Mixing a glass with half gatorade and half water is about the equivalent salt concentration of “normal saline” that one would get in a IV infusion at the hospital.
  • Chicken broth or chicken soup.  If you are very ill and vomiting, you may not be able to eat solid foods.  Chicken broth is easy to digest and typically has a lot of salt.
  • Dried fruits.  Dried fruits are high in fiber and potassium, an important electrolyte.  Fiber is necessary for normal bowel movements.  Fresh fruits may not keep as long in the pantry.  Dried fruits are good alternatives if you can’t leave the house to buy the fresh version.
  • Multivitamins.  If you are not eating full meals, you will need to get your vitamins in pill or liquid form.
  • Acetaminophen AND aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen.  You need acetaminophen and one of the other three to reduce fever.  They work by different mechanisms and you can alternate taking them to keep the fever down.
  • Throat lozenges.  Coughing constantly can make your throat feel raw and painful. I recommend lozenges with benzocaine or phenol as these are actual anesthetic medications.
  • Salt. If you run out of gatorade or chicken broth, plain salt added to water can be an easy way to replenish sodium lost from sweating.
  • White rice, white bread, white pasta.  These are typically easy to digest if you have an upset stomach and provide rapid energy replacement.  I know you will recall from earlier blogs that I typically avoid these “white” items for weight loss, but in this situation you actually want to maintain your weight with these foods.
  • Tomato juice, pasta sauce.  These foods are rich in both sodium and potassium.
  • Honey.  Honey is a natural cough suppressant.  Added to ginger tea, it can be quite soothing.
  • Dark chocolate.  This is another cough suppressant, and has antioxidants and fats which can help provide your body with long-lasting fuel.
  • Sinus rinse.  Nasal congestion can be difficult to get rid of.  The sinus rinse can help.