Getting the flu during the apocalypse

A little while ago, I dropped off the face of the earth for a couple of weeks — not because I’ve been on holidays or anything (I wish I had been, though), but because I was off battling the flu. The actual, legit flu, and not just a really bad cold.

Yay me, I’m now part of this year’s flu statistics! Huzzah. The flu has been super bad this year, and the epicentre of it seems to be my city (well, the epicentre of the flu in my province, anyway). Which is fantastic and all that. I mean, having the flu sucked, but at least I managed to stay out of the hospital.

But! As I lay in bed for those two weeks, feeling like death, I thought to myself: this is all well and good now, when the worst thing I have to do is ferry my kids to and from and school (and to all of their extracurriculars because sadly, moms still don’t get sick days), but what if this happened during the apocalypse? Or during the post-apocalypse? (I’m assuming a sudden apocalypse here, like a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion or the robot apocalypse or something, not this slow descent into madness that we’re currently living.) How will you run away from zombies when you can barely lift your head off the pillow?

Let’s face it: as much as I’m constantly told that the flu is “no big deal” and it will “beef up my kids’ immune systems” (this is almost always told to me by a mom who thinks it’s no big deal to send her kids to school WITH THE FLU), the flu is no joke. The flu actually kills people, which is pretty evident during this year’s flu season. (And, in fact, a lab-confirmed case of the flu once sent my otherwise healthy oldest child to the ICU. The ICU, you guys. In an ambulance. When she deteriorated, she deteriorated fast.)

Unlike having a cold, the flu can — and does — take people right out of commission. You can’t eat, your entire body aches, you have a super high fever, you can barely sit up, let alone run away from zombies…

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in other words, it’s not an ideal condition to be in when you’re trying to stay alive. And on top of all that, flu season is in the middle of winter, so not only will you be trying to keep down food more substantial than a Premium Plus cracker, you’ll also likely be trying to stay warm when it’s -20° outside. While trying to outrun zombies.

Hopefully zombies get really sluggish in the cold. Because that would be handy.

In any case, it will not be a fun time.

So, what can you do to survive an apocalypse flu?

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(Unless, of course, the flu causes the apocalypse. That is one hardy virus, so who knows, maybe a mutated strain is the cause of the epidemic that ends up killing us all.) Aside from just not getting the flu (ha), I guess the best thing to do is to hunker down somewhere until the worst of it passes.

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So, travel with at least one other person, who can watch out for you while you thrash around in a feverish delirium to make sure you don’t become zombie lunch. (It goes without saying that you should actually trust this person.)

Hopefully, you’ll also have packed some of the following in your bug out bag:

  • Cold and flu meds: things like Tylenol Complete, Benylin All in One, Advil Cold and Sinus
  • Cough syrup if you get hit with a horrible cough
  • Cough drops/lozenges. I’m a big fan of Ricola myself, but my husband likes Fisherman’s Friend
  • Kleenex. Lots and lots of Kleenex
  • Extra layers of clothes or blankets, for when you get the chills
  • Water
  • Lipton Chicken Noodle soup, which is the best thing since sliced bread when you’re sick (no, really)
  • Tomato soup in a can, if you don’t like Lipton Chicken Noodle (you monster) (also, if you don’t have access to a stove, this is probably better)
  • A can opener, for your canned soup or beef broth or whatever
  • A thermometer, so you can keep track of how high your fever gets (you know, for funsies)
  • Antibiotics, like azithromycin or amoxicillin, in case you develop complications like bacterial pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Antivirals, like Tamiflu

Hopefully you won’t have to deal with this, but if you do, I hope you’ve got a trusted friend or family member travelling with you to keep you safe from zombies and winter weather and to help nurse you back to health.

Also, if it’s winter, hopefully you haven’t actually gone anywhere and you’re hunkering down at home, where there is a bed. And walls. There may not be any heat or running water, but at least you’ll have walls and a roof.

Um, I hope.

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