Flu epidemic: the hell of being ill when you’re a parent, and how to get through it

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    Flu epidemic: the hell of being ill when you're a parent, and how to get through it
    Help (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

    The country is bracing itself for the impending flu epidemic and while no one wants to be ill and special care needs to be taken of the young and elderly, there is one group of people desperate not to get sick – parents.

    Being a parent, the odds are already stacked against you, so throw a debilitating illness into the mix and you’re nearly out of the game.

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    Whether it’s full-on flu or a nasty cold or tummy bug, the double threat of being poorly while responsible for small people can be devastating.

    You don’t get sick days when you’re a mum or dad; there’s no lying on the sofa with a Lemsip, a duvet and Philip Schofield on the telly.

    Sorry, but your kids don’t care if you’re ill.

    They still want lunch and a game of Lego, and guess who’s providing?

    Yes, you, the patient.

    And you have to provide even if you’re barely able to lift your head up or move without throwing up.

    You’re probably already at a loss through lack of sleep, which means your immunity has been suppressed.

    That means you’re going to take longer to get better, but there’s no chance of catching up on any shut-eye because you’ve got to do a night feed or the school run.

    But you have to actively try to get better or the hell will continue for longer.

    So what to do?

    Your instinct is to power on through, to keep providing and being there for your kids, but there are some other things you can do to help yourself, and them.

    Flu epidemic: the hell of being ill when you're a parent, and how to get through it
    Mummy. Mummy. Do you want to play? (Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler for Metro.co.uk)

    1. Recruit as many helpers as you can to bring in some supplies or take the kids out for half an hour

    Call in favours if you have to.

    2. Forget the housework

    Seriously, leave it all.

    Save what strength you have to stab a straw into a juice box

    3. Take whatever painkillers or remedies you need

    Obviously, don’t leave them lying around.

    4. Ease up on the rules

    Screen time and snacks are your friends.

    5. Make it into a game

    Everyone has a duvet or quiet time in bed, and takeaway and Netflix is such a treat.

    6. Keep your hands off your kids as much as possible

    7. And remember, if they’re safe and contained you can take some down time

    But the best idea is to not get ill in the first place.

    So get the jab, wash your hands regularly, eat fruit and stay indoors.

    It’s the only way. Good luck.

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