Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It's Getting Hot in Here

My parents are very giving people. They're always willing to lend a hand when they can. Endlessly they share insight, wisdom and talents. Mom's researched dozens of times for people out of her on volition. Dad has run down the street to help a struggling neighbor just as much. For me and my brothers they give up everything, especially their love and their time.

This...this time I could have done without their generosity.

They have given onto me a well-wrapped, perfectly presented virus.

(Haha. Get it? "It's Getting Hot in Here." Hot equals fever. No? Not funny? Okay. Just a bit of delirious humor for your morning.)

Casualties include: my sleep, two boxes of tissues, mental clarity, my nose,  and possibly my sanity. For a future doctor, I'm a pretty lousy sick person. The truth: I'm a bit of a whiny baby. All I want do is be able to breath clearly, sip some tea, pop in a comfort film, and curl up and sleep the sickness away. That's it.

Thank God I don't suffer flu and colds often.

This year there is a nasty set of viruses going around. Everyone I know seems to be laid up for weeks, unable to shake it. Those who shake it early seem to get knocked upside the head with a new one just after! One virus settles in and vacates and another that was lying dormant rears its head. (This happened to me; I'm currently recovering from virus #2. Like, what is this? I refuse to be a breeding ground for virus replication! Cells, whatchu doin'?! Get on this!) My family and I are fairing better than others. We'll have only been down a week each - and luckily not all at once!

While I cannot claim to know 100% why we're doing as well as we are when our friends and acquaintances are struggling for weeks or even months to bounce back, I do attribute it to a few factors. (Disclaimer: This is only my own opinion, so don't take my word for it. I'm not promoting any of these, claiming them to be cures or encouraging individuals to take them, particularly without a doctor's consent.) Our diet is full of nutrients and very little processed foods; throughout the entire year we all take immune-boosting and supporting herbs;  we supplement vitamin D,
especially while we're ill, as we tend to have low D levels; crushed, fresh, uncooked garlic in raw honey on toast is a daily snack when we're sick, something Dr. Andrew Weil swears by; Oscillococcinum and Umcka are our go-to cold and flu virus care treatments, as well as Elderberry, Olive Leaf Extract, Echinacea and Oregon Grape Root.

As I ramp up the Wellness-Mobile into hyper-drive to get over this last leg of illness, I was reflecting on the non-food/herb/supplement tricks in our household for making sickliness less miserable. Here are some fantastic, harmless tips to keep your cold or flu less miserable:

  •  Nasal congestion? Prop up your bed! Dad has been doing this for me since I was little. Stuffing a few extra pillows under the mattress puts the bed on an incline, making it a bit easier to breath. I have done the whole "sleep propped up on pillows" thing and find propping  up the mattress much easier on my neck and back.

  • Nasal steam baths. Super simple! There are instructions all over the internet for this, so do a little research and find one you like. The basics are: boil some water on the stove, remove the pot from the heat, stick your head over it, cover both the pot and your head with a towel (making a tent) and inhale through your nose. This really helps me with nasal congestion.

    Like I said before, there are many different instructions on the internet. Some of these suggest scented nasal steam baths, some do not. In the past I have used apple cider vinegar and water nasal baths, as well as eucalyptus. Before trying something, I recommend doing a little research, talk to local health food stores, and talk to a medical practitioner of some sort (herbalist, allopathic doctor or naturopath for example).
  • Stay hydrated! This is probably totally self explanatory, but I had to include it. It really helps you feel better. It is also great for drainage of mucus.
  • Coconut oil on raw noses. Have you ever tried applying moisturizer to a tissue-beaten nose? Youch! That baby stings. Coconut oil is a painless way to moisturize and heal that area. (I haven't tried Calendula, but supposedly that is good on skin irritations, too. I'm just not sure if it is safe around your nose and mouth. That would be something to check with a health store or herbal practitioner in order to know for sure. I know coconut oil is.)
  • Honey in tea. Plain ol' sugar will not do the job here. The honey soothes and coats a raw throat. Tea can be medicinal and aid in health promotion, or it can be simply healing through the experience of tea.There's something relaxing and warming about holding a mug of tea, its scented vapors wafting into one's nose. (Whether or not you can smell the said vapors, it doesn't matter.)

  • Natural, non-medicated saline nasal spray with aloe. This is great for stuffed nose nightmares! When I am sick, not only do I get congested, but sometimes that congestion dries my nose. The spray aids in clearing congestion while at the same time soothing irritated nasal passageways.

  • Plenty of rest. I learned long ago that, for me anyway, pushing myself too much when I was ill only made the sickness stay. Now I no longer fight my body's desire to sleep or lay around. Listen to your body; give it the TLC it needs.
  • Move around. Movement helps lymphatic drainage which is super important. If you're like me and feel too much like crap to move, do a little self massage. Something as simple as stroking (with slight pressure) down your neck helps to drain that area. I learned this a long time ago when I became terribly ill, huge, swollen lymph nodes and all; a massage therapist showed me and my father how we could help my lymph system drain. This video here by Massage By Heather shows some self-massage drainage techniques for head congestion. I really appreciate her video because it informs people that there are contraindications (listed on her blog) and to check those before starting. This is always important!

Share your tips and tricks in the comments! 

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