How to Feel Better After You Have Been Sick
When you’re sick, you just don’t feel like yourself. You feel depressed and weak, and sometimes you continue to feel sickly even after most of your symptoms have subsided. It can be really hard to get out of bed and get active again, and cleaning up your house can seem daunting. In order to help shake off the misery of being sick, it is important to take care of yourself and your house post-illness so that you can continue to feel better and avoid getting sick again.
Taking Care of Yourself
Take your time.One of the quickest ways to end up back in a sickbed is to push yourself to be active too soon. Yes, you probably have a lot to do and might be missing school or work, but letting your body recuperate from an illness is extremely important. Don’t try to do too much until all of your symptoms have subsided. Relaxing and getting lots of sleep should be #1 on your priority list until you feel like you are 100% better.
- Healthy adults need between 7.5 and nine hours of sleep every night, and someone who is sick will need a great deal more. Make sure you are allowing yourself adequate time to rest, whether this means calling in sick to work or school, canceling plans, and/or going to bed early.
Stay hydrated.Being sick can take a lot out of you; it is always an exhausting experience, both mentally and physically. Help your body bounce back faster by drinking plenty of fluids. Be sure to drink an 8 oz. glass of water every few hours throughout the day to replace fluids lost during your illness. You should also drink a nutrient-rich drink like orange juice or soup broth a few times per day even after you feel better.
Eat healthily.Getting back into the swing of eating after a bout of illness can be unappealing at best. However, it is very important to revive your body with much-needed nutrients and sustenance so you can keep getting better. Since you have probably only eaten crackers, dry toast, or broth for the past days or weeks, start reintroducing some healthy, nutrient-rich foods into your diet again. Some tips:
- Avoid eating any rich, fatty foods.
- Eat smaller, lighter meals more frequently throughout the day instead of three main meals.
- Try eating a fruit smoothie once a day. It will help you to ingest a lot of nutrients that are key to getting you back on your feet.
- Soups, in particular chicken noodle soup, tom yum, pho, and miso soups, are a great way to reintroduce proteins and vegetables back into your diet.
Ease your muscle aches.Part of feeling better after you’ve been sick is dealing with associated symptoms like soreness and muscle aches. You might not be coughing every five minutes anymore, but your back might hurt still from all the hacking. The best way to alleviate any associated soreness once you start feeling better is with heat treatments. For example:
- Relax in a nice long bath. Try adding a cup of Epsom salts or a few drops of relaxing, anti-inflammatory essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, or lavender to promote additional healing and relaxation.
- Try using a heat pad to help with site-specific pain. For example, if you’re having lower abdominal cramping post-stomach flu, you can heat the pad up and place it on your abdomen for some relief.
- Carefully massage pain relieving ointment like Tiger Balm wherever you feel sore. Like the heating pad, use this ointment to treat any sore areas, like applying a dab to your temples for any associated headaches. Just be sure to wash your hands afterward, as these rubs are very potent and whatever skin it touches will heat up!
Exercise with moderation.Getting up and moving around after being sick will get the blood flowing and help flush toxins out. But wait until you are completely recovered to begin exercising, and avoid intense workouts completely for at least two to three weeks after being sick. Get back into working out slowly, giving yourself a week buffer after being sick before you start a moderate workout like walking or jogging short distances. You could also ease back into exercising with a hot yoga class where you’ll sweat out any toxins or remaining congestion.Just remember to stay hydrated!
Moisturize your skin.Being sick can take a real toll on your appearance. All of that sneezing, coughing, and wiping can leave you with raw, red skin. Once you’ve started taking care of the inside of your body, turn your attention to your neglected skin. Purchase a moisturizer that has lanolin in it and dab it onto areas like your nose for instant relief from painful, chapped skin. Consider also purchasing a lip balm that contains ingredients like coconut oil or argan oil, which are excellent for chapped lips
Taking Care of Your Home
Strip your bed sheets.When you’re sick you spend most of your time in bed, so cleaning your sheets should be the first priority. You sweat a lot more when you’re sick and your sheets are covered in unhealthy germs, so killing the bacteria on your bed is very important. Strip your entire bed, including pillowcases, and wash them in hot water with color-safe bleach. Treat any stains with a stain remover before washing. Let your mattress breathe for a few hours before putting any new sheets on.
Deep clean your bathroom.Regardless of the type of illness you had, you probably spent a lot of time dealing with the symptoms of your flu in the bathroom. Whether you were just there to grab more tissues or slept in there for two nights vomiting, giving your bathroom a deep clean is another top priority after being sick. Some tips for sanitizing your bathroom:
- Wash any bath towels, hand towels, rugs, robes, or other fabrics in hot water with color-safe bleach.
- Disinfect all surfaces, focusing mainly on the countertops and the toilet. You can use a store-bought product with bleach, or you can make your own with one part water to one part rubbing alcohol or full-strength vinegar.
- Empty the trash can, and then disinfect the trash bin.
- Replace your toothbrush or soak your toothbrush head in hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes to kill any bacteria.
- If you used a sponge to wipe everything down, throw it out when you’re done. If you use a cloth wipe, wash it with the towels when you’re finished.
Disinfect your kitchen.You might not have used your kitchen much while you were sick, but even just making a pot of tea can leave a trail of germs that can spread your sickness to other people. Disinfect your kitchen with disinfectant wipes, a product with bleach, or a homemade sanitizer with 1 part water to 1 part rubbing alcohol or full-strength vinegar. Key places to wipe down in your kitchen:
- Refrigerator handle
- Faucet handles
- Pantry, cabinet, and drawer handles
- Any dishware used
Sanitize any other points of contact.It’s hard to remember everything you touched in your house while you were sick, but it’s important to try to sanitize anything you may have had contact with. This will help you stay healthy and reduce the likelihood of you getting anyone else sick. Just be sure to use disinfecting products that are safe for use on a variety of surfaces, such as electronics. In addition to the areas you have already cleaned at this point, the most common points of contact in a house include:
- Bathroom cabinets and drawer handles
- Door knobs
- Light switches, including the light switch plate
- Electronics like laptops, cell phones, landline phones, TV remotes, and the computer keyboard and mouse
Wash all of your sick clothing.Now that your bed, bathroom, kitchen, and points of contact are clean, you have to remove the last location of your sick germs: the clothing you wore. Take all of the pajamas, sweaters, and comfy clothes you recuperated in over the past days and weeks and do one last load of laundry using hot water and color-safe bleach. This will ensure that you have killed all the bacteria you possibly can and will have a clean, healthy slate.
Air out the house.After you’ve been sick and cooped up in your house with the windows closed and the blinds drawn, it’s a great idea to air out your house. Open any windows and let a cross breeze move some fresh air in and around your house for a little bit. Replacing the stale, sick air in your home with fresh air will get rid of any airborne particles and it will leave you feeling refreshed and energized. If it’s really cold outside, only do this for a minute or two; otherwise, keep the windows open for as long as you like!
QuestionHow do you get yourself back to normal once you've been ill?
Family Medicine PhysicianFamily Medicine PhysicianExpert AnswerTry and stay hydrated, do not eat heavy meals, and limit the amount of work and exercise that you do. Avoid exercising intensely for one to two weeks after you have been sick.Thanks!
QuestionI have been sick many times today and I am very thirsty, but whenever I drink I just throw up the fluids. What should I do?
Family Medicine PhysicianFamily Medicine PhysicianExpert AnswerIn that case, you need to see a doctor and go the ER to receive IV fluid resuscitation. If you are not keeping down liquids that is an indication for admission to the hospital.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I stay hopeful during illness and not get too depressed?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust keep in mind that it's a temporary setback, and take the downtime to distract yourself with something you enjoy, like watching movies, reading, or engaging in a hobby.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I do to make sure that my cold goes away?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGo out and get some fresh air, eat healthy foods, sleep well, exercise, and drink plenty of water.Thanks!
QuestionWhen I have thrown up, how do I get rid of the taste?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBrush your teeth or use some minty mouthwash after vomiting. This helps to get rid of the taste. Swishing water around a lot and spitting it out first is a good way to go.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I fall asleep faster?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTo fall asleep faster, try to relax. If you've been really busy, for example, take a nice warm bath, close your eyes, and relax. After that, apply a calming skin moisturiser or make a cup of tea. After all this, you should feel relaxed. Another way is to try reading a book or watching a movie without much violence or action.Thanks!
QuestionI want to go to sleep, but I am hot and sweaty. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerStep out of bed and stretch, then take a quick cool bath or shower. Turn on a fan or open a window.Thanks!
QuestionI've been ill for almost a week. I've suffered from diarrhea and vomiting, and feel tired now. My vomiting has stopped and now I'm just hungry. Am I on the way to recovery?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is likely, but be careful about what you eat right now, as your stomach and systems are vulnerable.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if I have a headache and I'm vomiting?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTake some Tylenol or Ibuprofen and try to get some rest. Turn the lights down or off. Eat bland foods like crackers or toast and drink clear fluids. If this happens to you often, you might be having migraines, in which case your doctor should be able to prescribe something to help you.Thanks!
QuestionShould I eat an apple after I've been sick?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, apples are 84% water, so that will help keep you hydrated. Other good foods with a high water percentage include pineapple, cranberries, oranges, and raspberries.Thanks!
I have been suffering from 2 months. I am a neuro patient. I am feeling frustrated. What should I have to do?
I was sick earlier and had a headache feel better now but will I be sick again?
How do I feel better after I have been sick when I am not hungry but I need to eat?
- Continue to take it easy in the weeks after an illness, and listen to your body when it tells you to slow down. Just because you feel better doesn’t mean you are 100% illness-free!
- Drinking plenty of water and eating food with lots of vitamins and nutrients are some of the best ways to not only get over an illness, but to ward off future flus.
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