10 products to always have at home in case you get sick
Cold and flu season is about hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.
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No one is happy to feel a cold coming on, but it’s a little less stressful when you are already prepared for it. Having the right tools to keep yourself comfortable and cared for during an illness is key to getting over it faster. Keep these 10 products in your home for when you get sick—you’ll thank us later.
1. A box of tissues for your runny nose
Tissues are about as synonymous with having a cold as, well, that brand name everyone calls them by. And while those are just fine, our favorite facial tissues are the Puffs Ultra Soft, because they are sturdy like a handkerchief but soft on your nose.
2. A humidifier to relieve dryness
When you’re not feeling well, it’s important to sleep well, but that can be hard if you have a dry throat or hacking cough or sinuses that are alternately stuffed or parched. To add humidity back into the air, we recommend a humidifier like the Vicks V745A. This one aced our tests because it can run all night and produces as much steam as a hot shower, but with half as much water and energy.
3. A thermometer to track your temp
It’s generally obvious when you have a fever, thanks to those unrelenting chills and alternating sweats, but it’s best to track your temperature to help you assess when to take medication or when to see a doctor. Try the iProven Digital Medical Thermometer, which claims to take accurate temperature measurements for people of all ages in just 10 seconds. It’s also compact to store away easily. It runs on alkaline LR41 batteries, which are also a good idea to keep around, as it always seems a digital thermometer is dead just when you need it.
4. A pressure cooker to prepare your meals with minimal effort
If you normally break out pots and pans to cook yourself a full meal while you’re sick, kudos to you. However, if you’re like many others, you resort to plain toast or soup to avoid having to cook. Without breaking out your chef hat, you can easily prepare meals using a pressure cooker, like our favorite Instant Pot. We recommend the Instant Pot Ultra because it’s intuitive to use, easy to clean, and cooks everything perfectly.
5. A disinfectant spray to kill germs
When you realize that you’ve been sick for a week and haven’t cleaned the surfaces you’ve been touching in your home, you’ll be glad to have a disinfectant spray on hand (and anyone you live with who hasn’t yet gotten sick will be gladder). For this, go with the Lysol Disinfectant Spray, which claims to kill 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria when left on countertops, faucets, tables, the fridge handle, and any other hard surfaces for three minutes, and it doesn’t need to be wiped away. The spray also prevents mold and mildew, and neutralizes bad odors caused by bacteria.
6. A water bottle to stay hydrated
Water is not a cure-all, but it’s never a bad idea to hydrate your body when it’s fighting off a cold or virus. We recommend keeping a water bottle, like our favorite from Brita. The Brita Stainless Steel Filtering Water Bottle has a slim build perfect for slipping in and out of cup holders or bag pockets, but it holds 20 ounces and has a wide mouth to accommodate ice cubes.
7. A healing ointment for dry skin and lips
When you’re congested and forced to breathe through your mouth at night, your lips can get dry and cracked very fast. Plus, your nose gets dry and irritated from wiping it. To hydrate parched skin and seal the moisture in, snag a tube or jar of Aquaphor. The ointment creates a protective barrier to prevent moisture loss while still allowing oxygen to the treated area—ideal for soothing irritation and allowing it to heal.
8. An electric kettle for tea
If you’re someone who drinks copious amounts of tea when you’re sick (or, ya know, everyday), you need an electric kettle. After testing, our favorite is the Cuisinart PerfecTemp 1.7 Liter Electric Kettle, which is easy to use and quite speedy. You can have boiling hot water in minutes and the kettle will alert you with a series of beeps, so you can stay glued to the couch until it’s done.
9. A weighted blanket for a great night’s sleep
If you have trouble falling or staying asleep when you’re sick, we may have found your new best friend in a weighted blanket. The Gravity Blanket was our favorite of all the ones we tested because of its high-quality velvet exterior and superb weight distribution. If you ask us, everyone should own a weighted blanket, in sickness and in health.
10. Gadgets that’ll keep you warm
You could bundle up in layers or jack up the thermostat to ward off the chills that come with being sick. But if you have a space heater to add a little more warmth to your immediate area, you won’t have to. We recommend the De’Longhi HMP1500, which is very powerful and easy to move but able to be mounted to the wall for a permanent solution. The heater also has an automatic shut-off if it’s tipped over and a function that keeps it from overheating.
For when you're bed-bound, we recommend using an electric blanket or a heating pad. For the blanket, try the L.L. Bean Heated Blanket, which features two layers of soft, velvety polyester fabric with an insulated layer in between. It feels high quality and the wires woven throughout the blanket are thin enough that you can barely notice them. We also love the BodyMed heating pad, because it heats up quickly and maintains even high temperatures over time. It also scores points for having intuitive controls, an option for moist heat, and a customizable automatic shut-off.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.