10 Tips When You Are Sick (WIAW)

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Quite the appetizing picture to start a WIAW off with, isn’t it?

Yes my friends, for the past few days I have been one sick puppy (ever wonder how that expression came to be? Me either.)

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Being sick over the weekend meant that I only had the chance to bake one thing despite my goal of being in the kitchen a lot. Unfortunately although the entire batch of what I made was eaten in hours the recipe is not blog-ready yet. There were just one too many steps in the baking process for my taste (think bake, slice, broil, rotate, etc… Yep, I think you understand my problem here).

I’m more of a simple recipe kind of gal. My favorite recipes on the blog so far have been the pancakes where I’ve just had to blend the ingredients, pour and cook. Actually, I have a promised pancake recipe that I haven’t posted yet, but I’ve already made up my mind for today!

Getting back to being sick though, I woke up Saturday morning after driving for about 6 hours Friday night to get home (long unnecessary story behind that one) with a sore throat. I brushed it off as just being caused by having the air conditioning on in the car too high, which has happened several times before.

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Then I spent the first few hours of my weekend scoping out some auctions with my dad. My favorite was this old school that was basically selling everything inside except for the windows, walls and lockers. It was a little spooky because everything looked eerily similar to my old elementary/middle school classrooms. I even found a few textbooks that were being auctioned off that I’m pretty sure were the same ones that I used in my fifth grade history class…

And with old buildings comes a lot of dust. It was definitely not the smartest thing for my worsening cough (and by now watering eyes).

Later that day I went to a family friend’s wedding at my church and her reception at the local university. Aside from some very awkward toasts given by the bridal party (of which about half mentioned zombies more than once) it was absolutely lovely!

My family skedaddled out a little early because both my brother and I had a lot of homework to do (me studying for two exams and my brother doing some post secondary assignments). Upon arriving home and eating supper though, I just began to feel worse than worse. I tried working on my Accounting take-home quiz and managed to make a good dent into it, but honestly I was just kind of zoned out.

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Before I went to bed my mom had me take my temperature. With two different thermometers I should add because the first one said 97 degrees and the second newer one said 96.6. *Sigh* I always have such low temperatures.

By then I pretty much felt awful and had what I thought at the time were the strangest dreams ever. In summary, I woke up constantly in a state of confusion over the ratios of coconut flours in a mathematical table. Laugh all you want. It was super stressful. Most of my stressful dreams involve really complicated math problems that seem totally solvable while I’m asleep however when I awake I end up realizing that they weren’t… That was not a restful night in the slightest! After waking up at 1:20pm once again over my panic at not being able to figure out coconut flour ratios, my nose was draining (ick), I was sweating up a storm (double ick) and my sinuses felt like they were so heavy my head would surely topple over.

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Somehow I managed to fall asleep again until a little before 6:00am… This time I dreamed that someone I knew had been murdered, I had an electrical cord in my bag, and then one of my elementary school teachers yelled at me at how dangerous they were before proving her point by sticking the plug end into the socket end and shocking herself. In my dream I screamed bloody murder and fortunately woke up to find myself not screaming and perfectly okay. Just very sick and very very wide awake.

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So then I mosied on downstairs to my kitchen where I put on a big kettle of water and made myself some hot tea while my little dog proceeded to bark her heart out and wake up our large dog outside.

My parents came downstairs and asked what was wrong because I was up so early. “Um, I’m sick.” I think they believed me when they couldn’t exactly make out what I was saying due to said swollen sinuses.

Fast forward throughout the day I skipped church because my temperature rose to 100.8 that morning (using the thermometer that said 97 the day before). This made me a little angry because I haven’t been to church in weeks because of being at school and I thought I was finally going to get the chance to go. It was probably a good thing that I didn’t though so I didn’t spread my illness to all of those nice people.

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I basically slept for the full hour too, no thanks to the help of my little dog again, who decided to come investigate her owner and check to make sure I was still alive. Thanks for caring Lilly. Really.

Amidst all of this I kind of lost my appetite and just munched on chicken throughout the day. I made sure to stay hydrated but food just lost its appeal. This is a new phenomena for me as I haven’t really been this sick for probably four or so years. In fact, food still isn’t the first priority on my mind when waking up now (don’t worry, I’m still eating! I have a feeling my stomach will catch up with my brain in a day or so and all will be back to normal soon).

By the time that my family got back from church I was just waking up. They shared a little bit about the new songs, the sermon, and about helping with communion/the scripture for the day.

Then I went back to sleep. Sitting up. My neck sure hurt but it did wonders for my ability to breathe!

Around 3:00pm I got up, headed to the kitchen and started finishing my food prep for the coming weeks at school. On the way home with my dad on Saturday we picked up 3 pounds of Foley fish pieces fresh from the seafood counter at the grocery store, so I put those in the oven to bake. Then I started gathering up my laptop, pillow, blanket, toothbrush, face soap, etc.

I am so thankful to my mom who worked all week on cooking chicken and stock for me in our crock pots! All I had to do was pull the bags out of the freezer and stick them in my insulated bag.

When it was time to go we took two cars, my dad driving by himself in one and my mom driving me in my car. We stopped by Meijer so that I could pick up some Aleve in case anything got worse with my headache/fever/sinus problems, as well as some frozen vegetables for my meals.

My parents drove me up about half way to my school because they were a little concerned about my coherency being a problem with me behind the wheel. Good choice it turns out as I slept for most of the way there, asking my mom random questions in between dreams about apple chunks going down slides made of talking celery (My biggest concern during these dreams was that the celery stalks were unhappy and being taken advantage of?? Who am I?)

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At the midway point I put fuel in my car and said goodbye to my parents. My mom called me about 10 minutes into the trip to make sure I was okay. Thankfully I knew she was going to do this so I turned my volume on high so I wouldn’t miss her call. I know her too well. ;)

Being back at school I’ve still had a couple of rough nights sleep/breathing/dream-wise (last night it was a growling Rottweiler the size of a horse that bit off a man’s head…). I’m looking forward to when things are back to normal and I can sleep in relative peace.

My head still feels like it’s in the clouds a bit and whenever I get up I have a raging headache. Plus my throat is getting all yucky and my nose feels like it will never stop running (I only have half a kleenex box left so fingers crossed for me!). My temperature is down now though from the almost 102 degrees that I had on Sunday night when I got to school.

After that little nice recap I think it’s safe to say that while I still feel awful, I am on the mend!

And I figured this would be as good a time as any to share what I do when I get sick to try and get over whatever I have as fast as possible!

1. Hydrate.

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This is number one for a reason because it is the most important. Keeping hydrated not only keeps you from getting dehydrated which is very easy when you are not feeling well, but it also does two other important things. First, it  helps to flush toxins out of your body, including probably some of those bugs that are making you sick. Second, drinking a lot of fluids can help bring down a fever naturally without the use of medication. So drink a lot of water!

2. Take probiotics.

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I already take probiotics twice a day and when you are sick it is certainly no time to stop! If you don’t currently take them on a regular basis a lot of doctors and health practitioners are now recommending that you take them when you are sick to make sure that your body doesn’t get overrun with the bad bacteria and so that you can build up your arsenal of good bacteria.

3. Drink tea.

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Preferably herbal teas without caffeine. I have been drinking at least twice a day a large mug of organic peppermint tea. The only ingredient is… You guessed it- peppermint. Ginger and lemon tea is also supposed to be fantastic but unfortunately the one that I have at home also contains soy (why? I have no idea) so I couldn’t use that one. Peppermint is very soothing to the sinuses both in the herbal properties of peppermint as well as in the steam from the mug. Whenever my tea was too hot to drink, which is always, I just leaned my face over the mug and breathed in the steam. It’s double purposed for helping clean out your sinuses while the tea is cooling off, and then soothing your throat when you finally get to drink it!

4. Consider taking vitamins/minerals/herbs.

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I was planning on taking Vitamin C if we had any at home, and while we didn’t, I think this is probably very important to have on hand for next time. What we did have in our cupboard was Echinea and Goldseal which is supposed to be great for fevers, headaches and gastrointestinal problems so it was a win-win all around! I’m sure there are plenty of other vitamins/minerals/herbs that are recommended to get over these seasonal bugs too, but these are the common ones that I’ve heard of.

5. Soup really is your best friend.

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No, I am not talking about Campbell’s soup in the can that you buy at the grocery store, or even the broth that you buy from the carton that is 100% pure and natural. I am talking about good old-fashioned homemade soup made from quality meat and bones. It’s super simple to make. Just take a crock pot and put in a whole chicken or a nice piece of beef with marrow. Then fill it almost to the brim with water and set it on high for overnight. Obviously cooking times and temperatures will vary with the quality/type of your crock pot, but this is what works for me). Combine the homemade stock and meat with some freshly chopped vegetables and cook until everything is nice, soft and delicious!

***What if you are vegan or vegetarian? Obviously the meat won’t work for you, but homemade vegetable stock can be very beneficial as well as it’s a great way to jam pack a lot of nutrients into one delicious bowl. Plus, the heat of the liquid is part of the reason that soup is so effective when someone has a cold as it helps to dissolve all of the mucus in the throat. Give it up for soup!

6. Use saline spray.

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There is nothing worse than leaving your nose plugged up while you are sick. It makes you feel awful and only prolongs the sickness by letting all of that drain back into your body. By using a saline spray (I used a generic version of Ocean Spray) it can loosen up your nasal passages and help get everything cleared out. I tried to use this about twice a day and will try to continue to use it until I feel completely better.

7. Sleep.

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This can be very hard when you are not feeling well, and as I shared in my recap from the best few days, there were many nights where I didn’t get the ideal number of hours. On those days though I was able to nap and that is perfectly fine. Get as much sleep as you need. That is the time where your body works to heal itself and the additional rest will help you get better faster. Seriously. Try going without sleep when you are sick and see how fast you recover!

8. Gurgle with salt water.

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It’s really as easy as it sounds. Heat up some water, mix in some salt (my choice is pink sea salt as it’s corn-free) and gurgle. Don’t swallow. Spit it back out in the sink and repeat as necessary. This not only helps to clear out your throat, but it can be very soothing as well for those with voice hoarse from coughing.

9. Reconsider taking that medication.

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No, I don’t mean ignore your doctor’s orders of taking a medicine that he prescribes. What I mean is that before you rush to the hospital with a small temperature, or rush to the medicine cabinet for that Tylenol/Aleve/Advil, pause a second to just think. Growing up my pediatrician always suggested that my parents wait to give us any medicine unless our temperatures reached a certain point and/or we got very uncomfortable. More recently I’ve heard that the reasoning behind this is that in many cases a fever is our body’s way of reacting to the infection and by letting it naturally run its course this can sometimes reduce the time it takes for us to recover. As you will note from above, I did buy some Aleve and although I didn’t use it, I just wanted to have it on hand in case my fever went higher or I started to feel much worse. Better safe than sorry and use your own judgment of course.

10. Don’t load up on junk food.

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When I say junk food in this case I really mean anything that is processed. Especially when you are sick it is important to get your calories from food that is as close to whole and healthy as possible. I know a lot of people tend to drift towards the cereals and ice cream and Popsicles and (canned) soup, and while those may be what you are craving, they are probably not going to be any help in fighting off whatever infection is raging on in your body. Bacteria feeds on sugars. Processed food = sugar. Also, while your body may be able to handle that fast food meal or big fro yo on a normal day where you are operating at 100%, on a day that your body is sick it is best to stick with milder, simpler ingredients. And how much more simple can your food get than one ingredient (or no ingredient!) labels?

***Note: I am not saying that all food that comes in a box or is processed is bad for you or junk food. I wholeheartedly believe in moderation. In the case of being sick though anything not natural really is perceived as “junk” in your body and as such is probably best to be avoided, at least temporarily.

And those are my top 10 tips for how to beat out that sickness! Sorry for the stock photos (my laptop is currently deciding to not recognize my phone as a real device so that’s fun…).

Happy WIAW Wednesday to everyone! Here’s to no colds, flus or other illnesses in the coming weeks for you. (But just in case, you know who to turn to ;) ).

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Questions for you:

  1. Have you been sick yet this season?
  2. What are you best tips for getting over a cold, flu, etc?

32 Thoughts on “10 Tips When You Are Sick (WIAW)

  1. Oh man, being sick is always such a rough thing but I am glad you are slowly getting better! I feel like there are so many people I know that are currently sick so I am crossing my fingers I don’t! I think your top 10 tips are right on the money – SLEEP is a big one for me! Hopefully you will be back in full swing in a couple of days! Get better :)

    • It must be the changing temperatures because tons of people are sing around here too!

      I always underestimate sleep but it’s so helpful for fixing basically everything :D

      Thanks Britta! I hope you don’t catch it!

  2. Oh no Madison, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re under the weather, it sounds horrendous! Love your top tips for what to do when you’re ill though, super helpful as I’m always hopeless! Hope you feel better soon :)

  3. Hope you get on the mend soon, buddy!

    I had the weirdest dream the other night- I was digging into a chuck of corned beef.. so random!

    Great tips there- especially the terrible ‘in between seasons’ phase- so annoying!

  4. Oh my goodness feel better soon! Whenever I am sick I cut up chunks of peeled ginger and put them in boiling water with a little lemon juice. It always makes me feel better!

    • I think I need to try the chunks of ginger trick… Emphasis on the “chunks.” ;) The two times that I tried making ginger tea I made it with shredded ginger. Umm, ya, not so good when you have ginger in your teeth :(

  5. You poor thing! Being sick is the WORST! It sounds like you have a good plan of attack though. I hope you feel better soon!

  6. ugh I am so sorry! feel better. i am such a baby when I am sick.

  7. This may sound incredibly weird, but I’ve been really sick, so I wrote down your tips in my notebook! I think hydrating and eating really healthy has been the best cure for me! It sucks being sick though! I hope you feel better!

    • Not weird at all. I’m glad that they may be helpful to you. As soon as I realized that I was coming down with something I started searching all of over the internet for what I could do. I just did NOT want to miss class. Hydrating is so great for flushing out all of the sickness!

  8. I’m sorry you’re sick, Madison! :-(

    These are great tips!

  9. Great tips! I always find myself reaching for lots of hot soup when I’m sick!

  10. Aw Madison. I’m sorry to hear you’re so sick and while you’re in school too. That’s even harder because you can’t really get the time your body needs to recuperate quickly and efficiently. I hope you feel better soon, and I will send you good vitamin C vibes because you were out of that one. I really like the tips and I use them even when I start to feel run down just in case. I’m also a fan of soaking in a hot bath and sweating out the illness. It’s not fun, but it works.

  11. Ow no, I just recovered from a major flu attack too, totally sucks! I hear a lot of people are under the weather here in Holland at the moment. I think fluseason starts early this year… Hope you’ll feel better soon!! Wishing you health and a lot of sleep so you can recover quickly! XO

    • I think kids in college are just sick year round so I have a hard time estimating if it’s the “season” or not here. Haha. But, I think that people are coughing and sneezing a lot more than normal so there’s that…

  12. I’m sorry about the illness! I’m right there with ya buddy. Thanks for the tips :)

  13. Pingback: Snapshots When I Was Sick (WIR) | Eating 4 Balance

  14. I add a neti-pot (which is like gurgling the salt water up in your nose…) to this awesome list of sicky tips. It sounds gross but it’s an awesome way to get all the junk out of there ASAP!

    On another note sorry you got sick and it disrupted your weekend and gave you crazy dreams! Hopefully you feel better soon

    • We have a neti-pot in our bathroom closet… Completely unopened. My mom suggested I try that this time but I think I have been scarred for life when I had to flush out my ears as a kid at the doctor’s. No crazy amounts of water going through the holes in my head, thanks. That said, since you suggested it, next time I’m sick I WILL get it out and try it at least once. *Promise* (But you may have to hold me to it ;) ).

  15. I’m so sorry you aren’t feeling well! (I love the part about the celery and the apples in your dream. <3 ) I love your tips — sleep, soup, and lots of water can really help me when I'm feeling sick.

  16. Hope you’re feeling better!

  17. Pingback: Snapshots When I Was Sick (WIR) | Eating For Balance

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