How to Help a Sick Person Feel Better

Two Parts:Using ActionsUsing Words

The quality of care a sick person receives during recovery from an illness is one of the most important steps to getting better. You may have a friend or family member who is suffering from a bad cold, an illness, or an infection. Once the person receives medication from her doctor, she may be instructed to stay at home, rest up, and get better. You can provide care for a sick person by using kind and comforting words, and by using caring actions to ensure she has a speedy recovery.

Part 1
Using Actions

  1. Image titled Help a Sick Person Feel Better Step 1
    Make sure she rests in a quiet, comfortable spot with access to fresh air. The sick person may have a high temperature and can feel chilled in a room that is too cold, or uncomfortable in a room that is too hot. As well, loud noises and a stuffy room can make the sick person feel worse, rather than better. Ensure the person is set up on a bed, couch, or comfy chair that is in a comfortable spot in the house and that a window is open to allow fresh air into the room.[1]
    • You can also make the person feel more comfortable by making sure she has access to warm blankets and lots of pillows, especially if she has a cold or a flu.
  2. Image titled Help a Sick Person Feel Better Step 2
    Give her liquids, like water and herbal tea. Most ill people suffer from dehydration due to symptoms like diarrhea or fever. Make sure she stays well hydrated by giving her glasses of water and cups of warm, comforting herbal tea. Encourage her to take small sips of the liquid and to try to finish at least three to four cups of water or tea. Though providing beverages is a simple gesture, it can be reassuring to the person, as she may not be able to get water or tea for herself due to her illness.[2]
    • The average adult needs to drink two liters or more a day and should urinate at least three to four times a day. Gauge the sick person’s hydration level and note if she does not go to the bathroom often during the day. This may be a sign she is dehydrated.
  3. Image titled Help a Sick Person Feel Better Step 3
    Prepare the person’s comfort food. Most people will have a go to comfort food they crave when they are ill, such as chicken noodle soup. Studies have shown that sick people crave chicken noodle soup because it contains a protein in the form of chicken, a hearty chicken broth full of vitamins, minerals, and some fat, noodles to keep you full, as well as vegetables like carrots, celery, and onion, which contain vitamins and antioxidants. In general, soups make good comfort foods for a sick person as they are warm, filling, and easy to digest.[3]
    • Avoid giving the person unhealthy foods high in trans fats and empty calories, as this will not support her immune system as she recovers from her illness. Nourishing foods like soup, porridge, oatmeal, and fruit smoothies are all good meal options for a person who is feeling ill and weak.[4]
  4. Image titled Help a Sick Person Feel Better Step 4
    Help the sick person stay clean. Depending on how severe the person’s sickness is, she may have a difficult time bathing herself or maintaining a level of cleanliness. It is very important that the sick person be kept clean to avoid more serious illnesses or infections. If the person is very ill, she may have a home nurse who is attending to her bathing needs.[5]
    • You can help make the sick person feel better by assisting with the changing of the bedding every day and helping to person to change positions in bed. If the person is very physically weak, she may have a hard time turning over on her own in bed. You can assist her home nurse or ask someone in the house to help you lift and turn the person at least once a day to prevent the development of bedsores.
  5. Image titled Help a Sick Person Feel Better Step 5
    Play a favorite game or watch a favorite movie or show. Another simple way to cheer up a sick person is to distract her from her illness by suggesting you both play a favorite game or watch a favorite movie or show together. Spending quality time with the person doing something easy and fun can make the sick person feel less weak and give her something else to focus on besides her illness.
    • You can also bring her favorite novel for her to read on her own to her to distract her from her illness and provide some entertainment for her.
    • You can both also do a fun craft or a small project together that involves multiple visits to see the person. This will give the sick person something to look forward to and allow you to spend quality time more often with the person.

Part 2
Using Words

  1. Image titled Help a Sick Person Feel Better Step 6
    Express your sympathy and desire to make her feel better. When you first visit the sick person, it’s important that you tell her you care for her and are rooting for her to get better. You should also offer to help her in a clear and direct way. Rather than ask, “What can I do?” or “Tell me what I can do to help”, you can offer to help the person with specific things. For example, “I’m going to the grocery store later, I can pick up some chicken noodle soup for you” or “I’ll be close to the pharmacy later, can I get your prescription for you?” This will make it easier for the person to accept your help with little effort.[6]
    • When trying to cheer the person up with words, avoid using phrases like “Look on the bright side” or “It could have been much worse”. These phrases, though full of good intention, can make the person feel guilty for being sick or feel she does not have a right to be sick when there are other people less fortunate than her.
  2. Image titled Help a Sick Person Feel Better Step 7
    Be willing to listen. Most sick people tend to feel better when they have someone who is willing to listen to them talk with empathy and understanding. Rather than tell the person she looks fine or that she doesn't seem all that sick, try to listen to the person talk about her feelings and emotions about her sickness or illness.
    • Avoid forcing an opinion on the person and focus instead on being there as a sympathetic ear. Many sick people find it helpful to know someone is sitting with them at least once a day and listening to them talk. Often, being sick can be a boring and lonely experience. Having someone who is willing to listen can help a sick person feel acknowledged and cared for.
  3. Image titled Help a Sick Person Feel Better Step 8
    Read to her. If the sick person is too weak to talk or sit up, you can comfort her by reading aloud from her favorite novel or story. This will help her remember she is not alone in the room and that she has someone who cares about her.


  • If the sick person exhibits any clear signs of a serious illness, make sure she gets medical attention right away.
  • Symptoms of a serious illness could include: loss of large amounts of blood from her body, coughing up blood or urinating blood, difficulty breathing, fainting or loss of motor skills, twelve hours or more without being able to urinate, a day or more of being unable to drink any liquids, heavy vomiting or diarrhea that lasts more than two days, strong, continuous stomach pain, any strong continuous pain that lasts more than three days, and a high fever that cannot be brought down or lasts more than four to five days.[7]
  • Visit the person while he is sick. However, visit even if they are not sick to show them they are loved -- depression or loneliness can cause a person to become sick! Remember to wash your hands after you leave to protect yourself from germs.

Article Info

Categories: Health