Van Life Sickness- What To Do When You Have a Cold or Flu

There is no worse feeling out there than being sick when you live in a van.

dealing with sickness while living in a vanWhether it’s from a cold, the flu, or a stomach virus, getting over it can feel like a never ending struggle to get your life back.

Unfortunately, when you live in a van, all of those sick feelings can be compounded and make you feel even more miserable than you would if you lived in a house with all the amenities.

This topic is near and dear to my heart, not only because Dusty is currently dealing with a bad head cold, but also because I decided to randomly start vomiting last night


As I heaved over the van toilet trying to release the demons, I thought about what we could do to improve our situation.


If we were in a house, we could easily escape to separate corners to recuperate in peace, but seeing as how we are van dwellers, we don’t have that luxury.

So I put together a shopping list of things to get next time we go to the store, that will not only help us feel better but also stop us from spreading germs back and forth to each other.

With this list, my plan is to create an emergency “Sick Kit” that we can have on hand for all sorts of bodily anomalies.

hacks for getting over sickness in a van
My Van Life “Sick Kit”

Bleach Wipes– Think of your van as a giant toddler. It’s adorable, sure, but if you let your guard down for two seconds, it can turn into a festering breeding ground for germs.

Bleach wipes are #1 on the list because stopping the spread of germs is the best way to avoid sickness. Use them to wipe down handles, buttons, knobs, surfaces, etc.

Ear Plugs– ARE A MUST FOR VAN LIFE! Not only to drown out your partner’s incessant coughing when they’re sick, but also for all other noise that could keep you up at night.

Trust me on this, the second you find yourself needing to park overnight in a college town, you’ll thank me.

Small Leak Proof Trash Bags– In my opinion, throwing up is a fate worse than death. The whole act is just vile!
Luckily, we have a real life toilet in our new van.

Our old van, on the other hand, did not. So when it came time for puking, it had to happen out the back door, or into our LuggaLoo. Now, I don’t puke all that often, but when I do, it’s nice not having to worry about where it’s going to happen.

If you’re out boon-docking in the woods, then sure, puke outside all you want, but on the off chance that you’re in a city, you’ll be glad you have something sturdy to keep all the liquids.

Lysol Spray– Speaking of vomiting in vans… If you live with someone else, it should be common courtesy to spray a little bit of Lysol in the air to get rid of the smell.

Trust me, I don’t like talking about this stuff either, but it has to be said. Lysol will not only deodorize the area, but it can also kill viruses and germs. It’s a win/win!

Vicks Vaporub– I hate taking medicine, especially if I’m sleeping in a new place. I just like to have my witts about me in case the police come knocking at my door telling me to move. So for me, Vicks is the best thing to help me breathe better without knocking me unconscious.

Benadryl– On the other hand, if you’re at a designated camp spot and don’t need to worry about being harassed in the middle of the night, Benadryl, or this generic stuff is what I like to use.
Not only does it clear up my post nasal drip so I can sleep better, but it’s also great to have on hand in case of allergy attacks.

Pepto Bismol– My other favorite little pink remedy is Pepto Bismol. It’s a great medicine to have on hand in case the sickness decides to purge from…
…the other end.

Emergen-C– While the verdict is still out on whether or not taking large amounts of Vitamin C does anything for the common cold, we still drink a lot of Emergen-C in this van simply because it tastes good.

What’s in Your Sick Kit?

If you think I’ve missed something vital, let me know in the comments below!

Contemplating #VanLife with someone you love? Read my articles “How to Survive in a Van With Your Significant Other” and “The #VanLife Couple Next Door, Tips and Tricks From the Road”


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