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Health

5 ways to kill time when you're battling the flu

Luis Fábregas
| Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, 4:51 p.m.
A patient recovers from the flu at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
A patient recovers from the flu at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

So you're sick as a dog, all curled up in bed with the flu (or what seems like the flu). You have a lot of time on your hands because, well, you're a considerate co-worker who doesn't want to spread germs. What should you do in between naps and trips to the kitchen to get more Robitussin? We have some suggestions:

1. Plan your summer vacation

There's something worse than staying home with the flu — staying home during summer vacation. So why not use your time wisely and start planning? All those hours in bed will no doubt be perfect for daydreaming about a trip to Mexico or Europe. Sounds like too much? Maybe not. Pittsburgh International Airport has about 74 nonstop flights to places such as Cancun and Paris. I poked around (yes, while miserable with a nasty cough and sore throat) and found a roundtrip, nonstop flight from Pittsburgh to Paris for about $1,500. The nonstop flight is roughly eight hours. If I can't convince my wife that's a good deal, maybe I can talk her into going to one of Travel and Leisure's 50 top places to travel in 2018 . They include New Orleans and Greenville, South Carolina.

2. Read some good journalism

Not a day goes by that I don't wish I had more time to read one of those long, meaty stories by one of my colleagues in the media. I could spend hours browsing through stories on ProPublica . Some of their always exceptional work: Wasted Medicine by Marshall Allen explores unnecessary, often expensive procedures and supplies that are all-too-prevalent in our health care system. Dollars for Doctors by Charles Ornstein looks at the financial ties between doctors and big drug companies. Want more options? Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated curated a list of his favorite reporting and writing for 2017. It includes work from journalists at The Washington Post, The New Yorker and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

3. Catch up on movies for the Oscars

If you're a movie lover, the Academy Awards show is your Super Bowl. Even if you've seen this year's nine best picture hopefuls, it's always fun to revisit past winners. Movie buffs like me have lots of options on Netflix, from Cinema Paradiso (winner of best foreign film in 1988) to Training Day, for which Denzel Washington (nominated this year for best actor) won his second Academy Award.

If you're looking for current fare, Variety published a handy guide to help stream some of this year's nominees. h

4. Go through the photos on your phone

If you're like me, you take way too many pictures of your kids. It's eating up all that memory on your iPhone. And let's face it, you don't need four versions of the same photo. Delete a few (including some of those useless videos of your dog) and give your camera roll some breathing room. If you have extra time, explore ways to store photos including Google Photos , a popular option. The free app lets you upload photos and videos to the cloud.

5. Do a puzzle

This one will require you to get out of bed, but your brain may thank you later. My grandmother used to always have a huge puzzle on her dining room table. We'd come visit and she'd talk to us while sorting through its tiny pieces. A stress reliever, she would tell us. It looked boring then but it seems like soothing therapy now. If puzzles aren't your thing, crossword puzzles also help exercise the brain, according to doctors at UPMC .

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