Cold and Flu Season Must-Haves

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I am nothing if not a “prepper”. I realized a long time ago that most of the things that I prepare for never happens. I’m totally okay with that! One thing that I prep for each year and, we always end up using, is my cold and flu preps. I’ve partnered with CVS to share my cold and flu season must haves. 


The first thing I always do each season is to get a flu shot. We just got ours this week, which is later than we normally do, but since the flu season is just starting, it is still a good time to do it.

Since getting a flu shot is the most effective way to protect our family from getting the flu, we get the flu shot every year.  The immunity provided by the vaccine declines over time. It takes up to two weeks for your immunity to build up after getting a flu shot, so the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends you get vaccinated as soon as flu vaccine becomes available. In addition to getting a flu shot, we make it a habit to wash our hands frequently, and throughout the day, which can help prevent the flu.

We get our flu shot at the MinuteClinic inside of CVS, and you can also get one at the CVS Pharmacy, and within CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations inside select Target stores. We used the 20% off coupon that we were each given after getting our flu shots to restock our cold and flu supplies.


In addition to the flu shots, we also keep and use probiotics and AirShield as part of a healthy lifestyle during the cold and flu season. We bought a couple more while we were at the store.


Since staying hydrated when you are ill is so important, Pete and I headed over to buy some flavored water while the girls got some snacks.


And I also picked up some comfort items I like to keep on hand for colds and flu. Both of these really soothe sore throats.

Back at home, I got everything ready and put into one area so that when we need it we can get to it quickly and easily. One thing that I learned early on as a parent is that kids get sick in the middle of the night more so than in the morning.  Searching through a medicine cabinet at 2 in the morning for fever reducer medicine is not fun! So keeping it all together helps make that not fun time a tad better. 

I also learned the importance of going through your medicine cabinet and replacing expired medicine.  Also, it helps to keep an inventory of what you are almost out of so that you can always make sure you have enough on hand.

The main players in my cold and flu must-haves are pain relievers (both adults and children’s), shower vapor tabs, chest rub, and adult day and nighttime flu relieve meds. I also am very careful to remember that flu relief medicine often has pain relievers in them so it is important not to take these with standalone pain relievers. 


When we checked out we got $15 in ExtraBucks® Rewards. I don’t have a picture to share because Pete took them right back in and bought a Halloween witch decoration. I’m not even kidding! 

If you are knew to the CVS Pharmacy ExtraCare program, it helps you save and earn rewards on nearly everything you buy – from household goods, to beauty products, to gifts for family and friends. Each time you shop you just scan your card or enter your phone number and you get:

  • ExtraSavings™: ExtraCare members receive ExtraSavings™ in the form of personalized coupons, weekly circular deals, and automatic discounts when they shop at CVS Pharmacy. ExtraSavings™ include money-saving offers delivered on register receipts, at the in-store ExtraCare Coupon Centers, and delivered via email and the CVS Pharmacy app, as well as sale prices for simply using an ExtraCare card during each visit.
  • ExtraBucks® Rewards: ExtraBucks® Rewards are like “free CVS money” that can be used on most things at CVS Pharmacy.* Unlike other confusing points-based loyalty programs, ExtraBucks® Rewards were designed to make it easy for cardholders to redeem their rewards by spending them on nearly anything they want throughout the store. Shoppers earn 2% back on nearly all purchases made throughout the store. These rewards are just for scanning an ExtraCare card during each shopping trip, and are paid out quarterly on January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1. Members also earn ExtraBucks® Rewards by purchasing specially-advertised items that pay out at the time of the qualifying purchase.

It is the easiest program to use and I love that I can use it here at home or when we are traveling to other parts of the country. 

CVS Pharmacy’s 9,600 locations have everything you need for preventing and treating the flu, including multiple flu vaccine options, over-the-counter cold and flu remedies, multivitamins and anti-bacterial cleaning products and are open every day, including evenings and weekends, with no appointment needed. Visit to locate the CVS Pharmacy closest to you and to learn more information on the vaccines offered. Certain immunizations have age and location restrictions.

What is your favorite comfort item when you are feeling ill?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • My favorite item is just simply my bed with some quiet. I just like to sleep when I am sick LOL. My mom always made us drink Ginger Ale when sick so I do that also.

  • My mom reminded me just this morning that I need to take the family in for our flu shots. CVS is where I always go. Love that savings pass they are giving out now!

  • You ARE one amazing prepper! I definitely need to get the family into a habit of getting their yearly flu shots.

  • When I feel ill I like to get plenty of rest, drink tea and take OTC meds from places like CVS. I love how they have their own line of brands.

  • That Spiced Apple Cider would be fantastic for a sore throat with a little honey. I like to have a hot shower with some eucalyptus and peppermint oil to help clear my sinuses and soothe my sore muscles. I always stock up on cold and flu medicines this time of the year.

  • When I am sick all I want is a warm blanket and some movies. Soft tissues are a must for my nose. CVS is a great place to go stock up on all your cold and flu needs.

  • I always go and get my flu shot. even though I hate getting it haha because I’m a chicken with needles!! These are such great things to do before flue season!

  • Now I’m reminded that I need to stock up on everything I might need if anyone gets sick this year. I like having it around so I don’t have to run to the store when someone isn’t feeling well.

  • These is nothing worse then getting a cold or flu and being unprepared. Honey and lemon, cold and flu medication and lots of gingerale are my key products to have on hand

  • I always stock up on medicines such as those except for the vapor tabs. And I just take a lot of rest when I am sick – sleep, sleep and more sleep. 🙂

  • I love CVS. I am like you, I try to keep cold meds and pain relivers in our cabinet. I also got my kids their flu shot and plan on getting mine very soon. I was dealing with horrible allergies and didn’t feel good so I put it off.

  • I love that CVS has everything you need to feel better fast in one convenient location. I can not live without Nyquil and Gatorade when I am feeling under the weather.

  • CVS really is a one-stop shop for all things pharmaceutical and health-care. I love how vast their selection is. Also, a big “boo” for the upcoming cold and flu season. Looks like you’re all prepped!

  • Oh…You reminded me I have to go and get my flu shot. I love that you are all prepared for cold and flu season. I will have to remember to pick up a few of these things when I get my flu shot! 🙂

  • I shop at CVS A LOT since it is right across the street. Thanks for the must have list for these next few months!

  • I love the convenience of CVS’s Minute Clinic. I’ll have to run my family over for their flu shots and grab some cold and flu essentials too!

  • This is a great list of items during flu season. My daughters and I are sick with colds right now. I have to say that my bed and water are my best friends while I’m sick.

  • Those shower vapo tabs are amazing. I’ve never seen them before so I would LOVE to try those, keep them on hand just in case!

  • CVS is a great store, I was just there today getting my coupons printed from the coupon machine. I’ve been debating about whether I should get a flu shot or not. I try to keep well by constantly washing my hands, using hand sanitizer and vitamin c. When I’m feeling ill, all I wanna do is just lay down and my comfort item is hot chocolate.

  • I take a lot of natural products for the cold and flu season. I have noticed significant improvement since I started doing that. Vitamin C, extra Bs, Vitamin D, Zinc and Echinacea are a good part of any immune defense.

  • I truly believe in being prepared! love that you’re taking action now before it’s too late, being sick is never fun! thanks for the info.

  • Flu shots are definitely important, I also make sure that my kids and I get them every season. I think it’s awesome that CVS is awesome 20% off, this will encourage more families to get flu shots!

  • The only year I didn’t have a flu shot was the year I got the flu. Then bronchitis, then pneumonia. I make sure to take it now. I need to stock up on these otc meds though because you just never know with so many different strains of flu.

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