Picture this: you're a cartoonist, and someone asks you to draw a sick person. Do you draw them wrapped up in a blanket? Well, that's what this trope is about.
Like eating soup, being wrapped up in a blanket is something that's relatively normal unless the weather is hot but is often associated with disease in fiction. In fact, fiction sometimes acts as if the only reason to be wrapped up in a blanket and not in bed (barring hypothermia, blizzards, being a baby or small child, and occasionally when watching TV) is being sick. So strong is this association that occasionally, being wrapped up in a blanket (along with an "out-of-it" look) is the first sign that something ain't right with a character, and a sick character might be wrapped up in a blanket even if it's summer.
There is a bit of Truth in Television to this: in the early stages of a fever, one's body thinks it's colder than it needs to be, which brings the illusion of being cold. There's also a false, but persistent, bit of "conventional wisdom" that states that the best way to treat a fever is to "sweat it out" with blankets. Additionally, many illnesses make the sufferer feel tired to the point of needing to sleep wrapped up in a blanket; pneumonia is one such example, with electric blankets typically being used in tandem with humidifiers to keep the afflicted individual comfortable.
While the Ill Girl may usually be seen in bed, sometimes they may be seen swaddled in a blanket.
This does not include instances where the sick person is in bed, as if you're in bed, you're likely to be wrapped up in a blanket anyway unless the weather is really hot.
Surprisingly, no relation to smallpox blankets, which would be more aptly called an illing blanket.
- Spoofed in SSSS.GRIDMAN, where Hass wears a blanket along with a white mask over her mouth. According to Rikka in one episode, Hass is not sick, she just wears those items for fun.
- In The Loud House fanfiction One Flu Over the Loud House - Alternate Ending, the picture shows all the sick people wrapped up in blankets, except Lily. This is in contrast to the actual episode it was based on, wherein only Rita was wrapped in a blanket.
- In this unnamed Mork & Mindy fanfiction, when Mindy finds Mork the alien sick, he is wrapped in a blanket.
- In this Steven Universe fanart where the Gems also get periods, Amethyst is all wrapped up in a pink blanket.
Amethyst: I need another blanket...
- Peter Pan: Captain Hook is shown wrapped in a blanket and soaking his feet in hot water when he catches a cold after being chased through the water by the crocodile at Skull Rock.
- At the end of Frozen Fever, the sick Elsa is wrapped in Oaken's "cloaken" that was originally a birthday present for Anna.
- The Berenstain Bears: In "Sick Days", Sister Bear watches TV while wrapped in a blanket as she recovers from her ambiguous disease.
- Books of the Raksura: Moon attends a tense meeting at a rival Raksuran Court while recovering from nearly dying when someone tried to poison him. He becomes very embarrassed when the Queen interrupts the meeting to order him an extra blanket.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: In "The Last Straw", Greg gets sick, and he's illustrated sitting on the couch in a blanket with a thermometer in his mouth.
- Parodied in Saturnin: the narrator says that Aunt Katerina's solution for everything (even getting rained on, having soot on one's eye, and getting locked in a room) is wrapping the person up in a blanket.
- In the book Spongebob Goes to the Doctor, based on the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Suds", Spongebob is seen on the cover wrapped in a blanket sick with a disease called the suds. In the episode the book is based on, however, Spongebob did get the suds but he didn't wrap himself in a blanket.
- The Big Bang Theory:
- In one Valentine's Day Episode, Sheldon and Penny catch the flu so they have to stay at home instead of going to Switzerland with Leonard. They are seen in the living room wrapped in heavy blankets, eating soup.
- Leonard once pretends to be sick to avoid going to a party with Penny. When Penny video-calls him, he wraps himself in a blanket to make him look sicker.
- Big Time Rush: When their mother is feeling sad about Kendall no longer needing her help, Katie decides to fake being sick to make her feel needed. She then wraps Katie up in so many blankets she can't move.
- In the Murder, She Wrote episode "Reflections of the Mind", Jessica's plan involved the local sheriff standing outside while she attempted to trick the perpetrators into confessing. This happens during a stormy day and at the end of the episode, he is sitting by the fire in a blanket and worried that he's catching a cold (although we never find out if he really does catch one).
- An episode of The Brady Bunch had one of the boys' voice changing, so he is wrapped in a blanket while being steamed (It Makes Sense in Context) to try and keep his voice from changing.
- In Call of Cthulhu, the "Shadows of Yog-Sogoth" adventure "The Worm That Walks" has Mr. Edwin having been infected with a mysterious disease that confined him to a wheelchair. He has a blanket to protect him from the chill.
- Two examples in the original production of Les Misérables:
- Late in Act II, Marius has a blanket around his shoulders as he recovers from his gunshot wound (and, going by the novel, resulting infection and fever) from the barricade.
- Likewise, in the final scene, the dying Jean Valjean is wrapped in a blanket. After his death, he rises from his chair as a spirit, leaving the blanket behind to represent his body.
- In the Jaiden Animations video "Injuries and Being Sick", whenever Jaiden draws a sick person who isn't in bed, they're wrapped in a blanket.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: After Kat's Love Interest Aly hurriedly breaks things off, she finds him swaddled in a blanket and fears he might be sick. Subverted since he's just Metamorphosing into a bird.
- When Thaddeus Euphemism from The Petri Dish has the flu, he wraps himself up in a blanket.
- Wilde Life: Oscar while under Lorelei's spell in Chapter Seven.
- Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood:
- In "Mom Tiger is Sick", Daniel's mother has a cold and takes a nap on the couch wrapped up in a blanket. The episode's song also depicts Katerina wrapping Henrietta (who's implied to be sick) in a blanket.
- In "Daniel's Neighbors Help", Mrs. Tiger has a cold again and is wrapped in the same blanket on the couch (although she's not taking a nap).
- Little Princess: At the end of "I Don't Want a Cold", the Princess thinks the adults have caught her cold and wraps the General and Chef in blankets (but not the others).
- Downplayed in The Loud House episode "One Flu Over the Loud House". All the Louds get sick, but only the mother Rita is wrapped in a blanket.
- Phineas and Ferb: In "Put That Putter Away", Candace is sick and sneaks out of bed with a blanket wrapped around her.
- In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Endless Summer", Carrot has a cold and is shown wrapped up in a blanket later on in the episode.