Getting sick with a cold or the flu is never fun, but being sick over and over can be even worse. It can wreak havoc on a person’s life, work and relationships. If you know someone who keeps getting sick, there are things you can do to help make them feel better.
Give them lots of fluids, such as water or herbal tea. Most ill people lose lots of fluids through fever, sweating and diarrhea, so it’s important to keep them hydrated. You can also offer acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to reduce their fever and soothe aches. Always follow the dosage instructions on the label.
It’s okay to use words of encouragement, but it’s best to avoid phrases like “You don’t look very sick” and “I’ve heard you have a lot going on in your life.” These can come across as dismissive and invalidating.
Sick people need to rest. Encourage them to stay home from work, school or social events until they’re feeling better. If they’re a parent, try to find babysitters or other family members to care for their children while they’re sick.
Don’t share personal items, such as dishes, cups or towels, with the sick person. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after touching high-touch items like doorknobs, light switches, toilets and remote controls. You should also wear a face mask when you’re in the same room as a sick person. If possible, have them wear a face mask when visiting others, too.