It’s that time of year again: the season of winter sickness!
It’s probably that multiple people in your close circle have been afflicted with the cold or flu as of late — and, unfortunately, the odds are decent that your significant other will contract one of these pesky viruses.
Fortunately, in the event of a sick boyfriend, there are some important rules and pointers to keep in mind to ensure that everyone’s health and sanity makes it through this flu season unscathed.
1. Remind him to medicate accordingly.
Not to paint with a broad brush, but, much like children, guys are often hesitant to keep up with doses of basic cold and flu medicine. It seems that if one dose of the stuff doesn’t immediately make them feel better, then it’s “not working.” This is where you come in: you can be the handy reminder that his four hours of DayQuil are up, or that it’s been 12 hours since he had his dose of Mucinex D. Sure, being a human medication alarm isn’t the sexiest job — but when his sinuses are full of snot, it helps to have a level head (you) around.
2. Fuss over him just a little bit.
There’s a fine line between doting and smothering (see below), but any sick person wants to feel like they are in the hands of a truly capable and loyal caretaker. Whether it’s making him some soup from scratch or making sure he has a clean supply of fluffy blankets, going into minor nurse-mode will help him to feel like you have his back, regardless of the situation.
3. Get a bit creative.
Being sick used to be a fun way to get out of school. However, being sick as an adult is truly torturous. Not only are you taking a sick day, but you aren’t even getting to enjoy it, thanks to your chills and body aches. If your guy is feeling morose about his current sickly situation, help him out by attempting to make the situation as cute and cozy as possible. Maybe make a blanket fort in front of the TV, so the two of you can hang out and stream Netflix all day. Or, perhaps create a little homemade “Get Well Soon” card that includes some of your inside jokes. Show him that you’re trying to make the best of the situation will help to lift his spirits, even temporarily.
One of the worst things about being sick is the fact that no one else can truly comprehend how sh*tty you’re feeling. It’s hard for normal, healthy people to understand that you aren’t being “dramatic” when you say that your head “feels like a bowling ball.” This is why it’s always important to empathize when you significant other falls ill. Even though it’s tempting to distract them from their discomfort, it’s also important to allow them to complain a little while offering a sympathetic ear. After all, being sick totally sucks, so you might as well let him have his martyr moment.
5. Stock up on lots of patience.
If his sickness lasts for multiple days, then you may find yourself becoming a bit irked by the situation (particularly if you share the same living space). This is perfectly natural, as it can sap your energy to deal with a guy when he’s feeling cranky and uncomfortable. However, you should remind yourself that, while it may not be fun for you, it definitely isn’t fun for him either. If you’re tempted to tell him to stop sniffling in his sleep, or coughing so loud that it wakes the neighbors up, try to do so in an understanding manner. And yes: he may start to snore if his nose is stuffed up. Prepare yourself accordingly.
6. Give him a little bit of space.
While it may contradict every other bit of previous advice, it’s important for you to A.) continue living your own damn life and B.) give him some time to recuperate on his own. Being sick is often a crusty and unflattering experience, and it’s vulnerable enough to allow one’s self to be seen by another human during illness. While having a dependable significant other is an important part of the healing process, it’s also beneficial to let your partner have the apartment to themselves for a bit while you go out to run errands and treat yourself to a coffee. They’ll still appreciate your help, and they won’t feel like they’re being smothered by your presence.
7. Be thoughtful.
The most comforting part of being nursed back to health is the myriad of nostalgic rituals we often go through when recovering from a bout of sickness. If his parents always gave him saltines and club soda when he was sick, then stopping by a drugstore to pick up those items will definitely help to give him that same warm, fuzzy feeling during his bed-ridden days. If his favorite “sick movie” is Groundhog Day, then cue that sh*t up! Knowing that you’re paying attention and listening to his stories and his preferences will add an extra layer of comfort to an otherwise miserable situation.