Panel 1: As Elly gets out of bed, she thought-bubbles that she hasn't been sick in ages and isn't used to staying in bed; this must mean that last January was ages ago.
Panel 2: As she walks downstairs, she tells herself that she could do some laundry, pay some bills or write a bit more for her class. This is quite a change from the self-pitying woman who wanted her mommy, that's for sure.
Panel 3: As she puts a load of clothes in, she coughs into the water and hopes that this bug will go away soon.
Panel 4: As she puts her face on the pile of clothes and ensures that her family gets sick too, she thinks that it's a good thing that she's taking care of herself. Will she think it's a good thing that she has to take care of them? Somehow, I doubt it.
Summary: Lynn clearly meant to create a strip that shows Elly being conscientious; what she did create is a strip that has a stupid woman witlessly making her life harder and her family sick because she's too dumb to rest.