All right ladies, it’s almost time. Time for what you may ask? Time for the dreaded Man Flu to hit the nearest and dearest males in your life. This serious condition affects untold numbers of menfolk each year. There isn’t hard data to suggest the exact number of reported cases men suffer through each year because, as we all know, men are allergic to going to the doctor for an accurate diagnosis. The Man Flu is a complicated illness. On one hand, those affected can hardly muster the strength to drive themselves to the doctor, but on the other hand, if Jimmy calls to announce an impromptu poker night, said Man Flu symptoms have been known to mysteriously clear up. Like I said, it’s a complicated illness.
Each fall and winter, my normally steadfast and reserved husband comes down with the Man Flu at least twice.
My heart goes out to him while he battles this illness. Truly. I can see some of you rolling your eyes and laughing, but this is a serious matter. Honestly. I mean, my husband holds down a job with high levels of stress. He is normally reserved and quiet. He takes care of the outdoor chores and the trash. He offers piggyback rides and teaches wrestling moves to our children. However, the Man Flu is no respecter of persons. It hits and it hits hard. Suddenly, being isolated in the bonus room is an absolute necessity. You can’t be too safe when making sure this illness doesn’t spread to the rest of my household. A remote, Netflix, and access to our huge DVD library is a good start, but please don’t stop there. This calls for the Man Flu Survival Kit (MFSK). Do you have one? If not, pay close attention my friends. I share my secret with the hope that this can help in your time of need. We have to band together if we are to overcome. No woman left behind and all that.
Here is what I put in my MFSK, but please feel free to customize the contents for your partner. After all, the Man Flu affects each person differently. Here are my staples:
- Tissues. Not regular tissues; let’s us not get crazy. I’m talking about tissues with LOTION, okay? Those noses aren’t going to moisturize themselves, and red raw noses have to be caressed with the soft loving blanket of a lotion coated tissue. Brownie points if it has a medicated scent. Medicated scents means it works better, mmmmkay? Trust me.
- Epsom salt. When your partner is running a crazy high fever of 99.2F, he needs a bath to bring down his temperature. Throw in some epsom salt to bring out those toxins and ease those sore muscles. If you have essential oils on hand, now is the time to bust them out, but only the medicine scented ones. No lavender or orange oil; you need eucalyptus oil. It has to smell of medicine so he can tell it’s working.
- Fuzzy socks. These are a miracle worker. Those flu ridden feet get COLD. It’s better to test out socks for a snug and cozy fit beforehand. The Man Flu messes with skin sensitivity, so your partner’s favorite socks might feel “wrong” during the illness, requiring a trip to Target to find some truly fuzzy socks. A little bit of research goes a long way.
- Medication. Here is where you’ll need to customize based on your partner and your approach to medicine. In my household, we go for the nuclear option. Advil, saline nasal rinse, Afrin, cold and cough medicine, throat lozenges, you name it, it’s in the kit. Whatever you do, don’t forget the Vicks VaporRub. The off-brand won’t work. His mom used Vicks and that’s the only kind that works. Trust the force with this one and buy it. Slather it on until you can smell him all the way downstairs. Once again, the powerfully noxious smell means it’s working.
- Junk food and soup. I don’t question this combination. I trust the force and run with it. I buy Oreos, goldfish, and chicken noodle soup. I also buy all the Gatorade because dehydration is real with the flu and you need to keep their fluid levels at top notch.
- Blankets and pillows galore. Sacrifice all extra blankets and pillows for the cause of getting better. That blanket you love to snuggle with while watching a few stolen minutes of Netflix before you pass out — NOPE. It’s been conscripted into the army of defeating the flu. Make your peace with it and let it go. It will come back one day…just wash it first because germs can stick around.
I hope this is helpful. I hope you keep your sanity. Man Flu is so hard on our men. Honestly. Women are used to getting sick and just working through it since people have to be fed, stuff has to get done, and life stops for no woman. But when our men are hit, they go down hard. Mighty trees and all that.