Cooking While Sick / Coughing?

johnliu_gwDecember 19, 2012

Do you cook when you have a cold/flu? Have you gotten anyone sick by doing so? What precautions do you take?

I've had this cold for almost a week now, and it has moved into the coughing stage. You know, where you only get a couple hours of sleep at night because that's when the coughing is worst. Naturally, when you're at work, bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, the coughing isn't so bad.

Anyway, I have been casting my vote in favor of Chinese takeout, leftovers, supermarket deli, and OPC (Other People's Cooking). But at some points, I have had to cook. I mean, someone had to make the gallons of chicken soup that we consumed last weekend (SWMBO was also sick, seems we all lived on soup those two days.)

So, I wash my hands a lot, and cough into my elbow or turn away. I wonder if that is enough.

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I absolutely do not cook when I have a cold in the coughing , sneezing stage.....and simply can't when I have the flu.

When I have a "light cold", congested, sniffles etc I use rubber gloves when I cook....which is as little as possible because I don't wanna!!!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 4:29PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Just like the surgeon with an infection on his hand, I blithely cook away. I hope no one dies.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:51PM
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I don't cook for others when I am sick, but I do make chicken soup for myself. If DB wants to eat some of it, he does so at his own risk.

One of the main reasons I started writing down recipes (which I started in the 1980s) was so that someone else could make them for me when I was sick. Kevin can make a few things, and he's very good at the Shrimp Udon Noodle soup recipe that I created. I generally keep chicken stock in the freezer for this type of emergency.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:21PM
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Once a "house" is sick, you're either gonna get sick or you're not. I can't imagine that food from a cook who generally takes reasonable precautions against cross contamination, etc. anyway while preparing food is going to be more of a threat than touching door knobs, fridge handles, bathroom faucets, or just breathing the air.

I wouldn't invite company over for dinner though!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:35PM
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Word: codeine is a great nighttime cough suppressant - sold as a prescription cough syrup, obviously you can't take it during the day!

I finally sought help for a chronic cough that gets annoying. I got the codeine cough syrup and an inhaler - Symbicort - with steroids to calm the inflammation, and a 'bronchodilator' to control the coughing spasms. I think it helped, I'm good now.

I agree with FOAS about a sick house. Feel better!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:43PM
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Well yeah I cook when I'm sick, we still have to eat! The kids are too young to fend for themselves -- that is, they can, but it's more work to deal with the mess (honey everywhere) than just being there from the start. If I am totally out of commision, like with a stomach virus and can't get out of bed, my husband takes a day or two off work.

We pretty much share our germs here, like it or not. I do take reasonable precautions (frequent handwashing, sneezing into elbow). Also I have more than once canceled out on taking dinner to a neighbor with a new baby, because I had caught a cold from one of the kids.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Yep, FOAS has it right. If you're doomed, you're doomed. At least the heat of cooking the food kills the germs. I imagine you should ask someone else to set the table and perhaps put the food in the serving dishes.

Take out works, too. Wonton soup is Chinese penicillin.

Feel better.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:58PM
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That explains my germophobic brother, who was a guest all of last week, not eating the meals I made (including horseradish and herb-crusted prime rib, roasted asparagus, and garlic mashed, and Creme Brulee). Obviously I didn't cough into the food or my hand, I washed frequently, and I wiped surfaces with alcohol. He freaked when I touched the fish he just fileted as I put it in a freezer bag.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 7:00PM
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Yeah I cook. Not for others usually. But I don't know how you can tell if someone got sick from the food instead of someone coughing and spraying in their face, touching doorknobs, telephones, computers, sinks, toilet handles and the like by someone who's sick.

I take no other precautions than I always do. I cough in the elbow, I wash my hands, clean pans, utensils, dinnerware and use common sense. Oh, and when I don't get a flu shot, I don't get the flu.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 7:42PM
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Cynic I never got the flu either and didn't get a flu shot, until a couple of years ago when I got H1N1, no shots were available but Ashley was interning in a large hospital so she got one. Some kid vomited on her, I washed her scrubs and got the flu. I was too sick to even watch TV, I just sat on the couch and stared out at the backyard. After that, I've gotten a flu shot!

I still cook when I'm not so sick I can't function. As has been mentioned, if you're in the same house, the germs are already there, you can quarantine yourself from life in general.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 8:28PM
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I'm about 50/50 on getting the flu or not, in years when I get a flu shot. Often I don't get a shot. My family religiously gets the shots.

See, for me the flu is not so bad. It knocks me out, I miss a couple days' work, catch up on my sleep, then it's over. I am much less happy when I get a cold, because those can drag on and on. To be still coughing 10 days later, is way irritating for me. You can't stay home for that long, can't get SWMBO to do everything for that long, you end up having to muddle through daily life feeling lousy. With the flu, yeah I'm feeling lousy, but I'm in bed. I like being in bed. The cat keeps me company.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 12:09AM
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When the kids were younger, I did cook no matter how I felt. I did my best not to cough on the food, but I definately didn't invite company. These days I have teens--and they're old enough to fend for themselves. I keep soup frozen in single serving bags for lunches, along with spaghetti sauce for quick dinners. There's pretty capable in the kitchen, so I don't worry too much about them. The Hubs is also capable, so I guess these days if I really feel crumby, I don't cook.

John, hope you feel much better soon. I totally agree with you about the flu vs a cold. I'd rather feel like death warmed over for three days and then be over it than go through the week it takes a cold to progress, followed by the weeks it takes to totally get rid of the coughing and sneezing that come after. Blech.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 1:31AM
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Everyone here (Wayne and our daughters)is capable of cooking a meal so they fend for themselves when I'm sick in bed. Wayne does most of the cooking anyway. Rare times that I do have to cook, I wash my hands more, wipe down the counters more, use hand sanitizers, etc. Hope you are feeling better soon John. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 9:44AM
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Just want to add something that hasn't been mentioned. I don't unload clean dishes from the dishwasher when I'm at that really contagious stage of a cold (the sneezy, drippy stage). I make sure that part is done by someone in the family that isn't yet sick. I feel like it at least minimizes the risk of spreading the virus a bit more.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 11:34PM
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Annie, last year is the first time in my life I got a flu shot and the first time in 30 years I got the flu. Plus after having a reaction to the shot, I'm hard-pressed to put myself through that again.

Good point about avoiding unloading the dishwasher when you're sick.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:28AM
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This year I've been sick more than anytime in my life. I'm working on my third cold, and had a stomach virus in between. I'm guessing that for the first time in several years, I'm exposed because my grandson is living with us, and he's in Kindergarten this year, and he's been real good at sharing.

For the first cold, I was very careful, didn't cook, didn't clean, (the only thing good about being sick!) but it didn't do much good. Now, I'm still being careful, but not nearly as worried as I was at first, because as was pointed out, everyone got sick with the colds, anyway. DH gets a flu shot every year provided free by the city. He works at the library, so he's exposed to tons of germs. He's the only one in the family that didn't get the stomach virus.

Jessy, if you have a chronic cough, please, if you haven't already, get it checked out thoroughly.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Cynic, I think maybe the last boss I had was right, he used to tell me "even the viruses won't touch YOU". (grin) I seldom get sick

Still, I was sicker than I think I've ever been with that particular flu. A neighbor also got it and at age 53, she died. That got my attention. Plus, I spend a lot of time around Madi, who is only one, and more time with The Princess and Bruvver, who bring every germ available home from school. Add Ashley who works in the local hospital and Amanda who works in a local nursing home and I get exposed to every illness imaginable.

My old doctor also used to tell me that if I were sick to toss my toothbrush in the dishwasher and to get a new one after having strep throat. That makes sense to me.



    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:39PM
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We had our office dinner tonight. I had to bring a main. It was chicken braised in cream, capers and corn. I took every precaution when cooking and handling it, not worried there. But it is hard to cook because I can't really taste anything.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 1:47AM
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