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 Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Ryu swaps bodies with Shiraishi (who caught a bad cold), and spends most of the chapter with a blanket wrapped around himself.
- 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...
- In Horvack, Can You Spare Some Slime?, Slickis wraps Ickis in a blanket when the bonsty is sick.
- In the second chapter of Seeing Isn't Always Believing, Frodo is wrapped in a blanket by Gandalf after falling through the ice and getting sick.
- In The Second Older Brother, a sick Dot has a blanket draped around her shoulders when she enters the story.
- In The Vigil, Wormmon clumsily drapes a blanket over a sick Ken, who is currently lying on the floor.
- In Splashing and Spluttering, Pippin is wrapped in blankets after falling in the river and catching a chill.
- In Baggins of Hobbiton, Frodo is wrapped in numerous blankets in order to help him warm up after he falls through the ice on the pond.
- In Fairytis, Wanda spends the majority of the second chapter wrapped in a blanket until Timmy finds the cure for her illness.
- In Crystal Clear, Luigi is wrapped in blankets at several points throughout the story after he falls into an icy lake.
- In Sniffles, Ratbat is wrapped in a chain-mail blanket during his sickness.
- In to be cared for, a sick Jungkook is bundled up in a blanket while watching a movie with the others.
- In My Greatest Mistake, Starscream wraps a blanket around Megatron when the latter catches a virus.
- 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 involves the local sheriff standing outside while she attempts 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).
- The episode of The Brady Bunch titled "Dough Re Mi" has Peter's voice changing just as the kids are scheduled to record a song, so he is wrapped in a blanket while being steamed to try and keep his voice from changing
- Rare (semi) reality game show example from series 1 of Raven: One warrior, Kefra, is wrapped in a blanket at the beginning of day 2 of week 2 after first falling ill at the end of day 1. She then leaves the tournament as a result of being too ill to continue.
- The Granada version of Sherlock Holmes: In "The Musgrave Ritual", the great detective has a blanket wrapped around his shoulders when he and Watson arrive at Musgrave's mansion as he's feeling sick. In "The Devil's Foot", Watson brings Holmes to Cornwell for a holiday to help him recover his health and Holmes is usually wrapped in a blanket.
- In the War of the Worlds (1988) episode "Night Moves", one of the Morthren soldiers is wrapped up in one to keep them alive after they ate food that was poisonous to the Morthren.
- 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.
- Breaking Cat News: In one strip where the Man and the Woman both have colds, the Woman burrows so deeply into a blanket that Puck believes she is "morphing into some kind of babushka... or nesting doll."
- 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.
- Invoked in the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "Hassle in the Castle" - Scooby uses this, as well as a Foot Bath Treatment, to pretend that he has a cold so that he won't have to sniff out the Phantom. The others aren't fooled in the slightest.
- In one Tom and Jerry cartoon, Tom is wrapped in a blanket by Jerry after falling into a pond and catching pneumonia.
- In Cinderella (Golden Films), Cinderella wraps herself in a blanket and sits by the fire when she catches a cold after being forced to carry her stepfamily's purchases in from the rain.
- In the She-Ra and the Princesses of Power episode "Huntara", Hordak collapses, and wakes up to find Entrapta has wrapped him in a blanket.
- In this Finnish animation, a bear falls into icy water and is wrapped up in a blanket and given a Foot Bath Treatment and Hot Drink Cure after being rescued.