Sick sucks!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with this winter. The snow was nice and all for a while, and the first few single-digit temperature days were kind of a fun novelty, but now that it’s March, the excitement is long gone and I’m ready to start seeing some sprouts in the ground. Winter coats, boots, hats, sweaters, be gone!

I’m not saying that we’re immune to illness during the warmer months, but it sure seems as if we get sick much more frequently when the weather is crummy. Knocking ferociously on wood, no one has gotten anything much worse than a cold or a stomach virus, but it’s been one bug after another in our house. One kid gets sick, recuperates, then someone else gets it. And when the caregivers get sick, look out. NOTHING gets done. Right now I’m on the tail end of some weird 24-hour thing with no symptoms other than aches, a low-grade fever, and dizziness, first brought home by Child No. 1. Hopefully it stops with me.

We don’t make a habit of running to the doctor for every malady; unless there’s something serious like a combination of intense symptoms (fever plus a rash, for example, or a bad cough, or sore throat), we’re pretty much a “tough-it-out” family. I’m not a big advocate for Tylenol or ibuprofen unless a fever is really high or if my kid is truly miserable. I believe our immune systems are capable of fighting off the germs on their own, without masking the symptoms that tell us what’s going on with our bodies. A fever tells me that an infection is being fought; if I suppress it with a fever-lowering drug, I won’t be able to tell how serious the illness is. We eat a pretty healthy diet most of the time, which makes a huge difference in our well-being, and supplement with vitamin C if needed, but for the most part, I can’t complain: we’re a hardy bunch.

Some of my go-to remedies when illness strikes might seem old-fashioned, but hey, if it’s all about feeling better, I’ll take it.

  • Tea! I love ginger and peppermint tea for pretty much anything. Throat Coat tea is the worst tasting thing ever, but if you have a sore, scratchy throat, it gets the job done.
  • I have this great garlic treatment that I got from Aviva Romm’s “The Natural Pregnancy Book.” It’s not for the faint-hearted: finely chop a good-sized clove of garlic, put it on a teaspoon, cover the whole thing with honey, and swallow it down. GULP. If you’re feeling nauseous, I probably wouldn’t recommend it, but garlic is a great anti-microbial plant, and the honey prevents any nasty garlic breath. Great for fighting the flu, or for any general malaise. Does it truly work? Maybe. Whenever I’ve used it, I find I am sick for a shorter duration of time. Maybe it’s placebo, but whatever. I’d rather swallow some garlic and think it’s making me healthier than take some scary drug with eight thousand warnings attached to it.
  • Water, water, water. Stay hydrated. Dry tissues = vulnerable tissues.
  • I wash my hands about a hundred times a day, but that’s a no-brainer. Having a child in diapers makes that a habit anyway.
  • I take a vitamin C supplement every morning, usually at the same time that I eat a orange, pith and all. The white stuff of citrus fruit has a slightly bitter taste, but it’s where so much of the goodness lies, it’s a shame to peel all of it off. I like to think that the vitamin C supplement complements the natural vitamin C of the orange, giving me a double wallop of antioxidant goodness.
  • I found I was staying healthier and getting fewer colds when I was able to run/exercise outside, even in colder weather. As soon as the temperatures start warming up, I am off that treadmill and heading out to my beloved canal path to return to outdoor running! Can’t wait.

Do you have any remedies that work for you? Who else is ready for spring?

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