Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Home Flu Remedies

I just spoke to my friend who is missing all the pre-Christmas fun this week - she is flattened by 'flu. Not that there's ever a good time to get it but it seems especially rubbish to be ill this week.
flu bug

Influenza (to give it its proper name) is one of those illnesses that people often say they have when they actually don't. Mostly people who are standing next to you saying they have 'flu actually probably have a nasty cold. They wouldn't be standing if they had 'flu.

I read useful guide once on how to tell if you actually have 'flu. Basically you have to imagine that a £10 note has blown onto your front garden. If you don't have the energy or ability to walk out and pick it up, you have 'flu.

Going on this basis I have actually only had proper flu once in my life. I was quite literally bed-ridden for days. When my eldest son had it he was so ill we called an ambulance. He had got up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night and collapsed. He couldn't get up. I was astounded when the doctors told us he had flu. He was in hospital for two days.

Given that it's actually a very nasty illness which can even be life threatening for people with certain conditions (like diabetes and heart conditions or compromised immune systems) it's a good idea to do everything to avoid catching it.

You can get a vaccination from your doctor or even chemists and supermarkets for a small amount of money. There is much debate about the efficiency of vaccination. There are so many strains of 'flu that it's impossible to vaccinate against all of them. Plus I know I am not alone in always feeling a bit flu-ey after having my jab. It's very inconvenient but to be fair much less inconvenient than losing a week to actual 'flu!

Practicing basic hygiene is generally free and a good idea in any case to ward off any number of illnesses including flu and the dreaded stomach bug which always strikes at this time of year.

Wash hands thoroughly using soap. And by this I don't mean just wave them under the water, rubbing palms together. Search for "hand washing songs" online and you will find any number of tutorials on how to wash hands effectively. Some even have songs and images so even small children can learn how to scrub illness-carrying germs off.

Carry anti-bacterial gel or wipes and use them. I reckon you can catch any number of diseases from a supermarket trolley handle, shop door handles, at soft play or holding the pole on an underground train.
London Underground tube train

I'm not a clean-freak. I really do believe in Granny's old mottos "eat a peck of dirt before you die" and "a muddy child is a happy child" but mud is one thing and bacteria is another. It takes seconds to squirt a drop of anti bac onto hands. If you stop during to eat during a day out, a quick squirt or wipe will remove any bugs before grabbing that sandwich or biscuit.

Use disposable tissues and dispose of them. I know this sounds obvious but how many of us store lightly used tissues in pockets or stuffed up your sleeve? And is it just my children who leave the flipping things lying about on the sofa?

My husband favours fabric handkerchiefs but they can be a bit grim by the end of the day. I always feel they should be boil-washed. (I'm still not entirely convinced by the 30 degree wash claims of the washing machine product manufacturers.)

But what if all your efforts fail and you catch 'flu?

First -if possible find yourself a carer. If there is someone to help with children or to make your drinks and food you will feel much better and probably recover faster. If that's not possible don't be a hero. Order takeaway and use the electronic babysitters (tablets, tv etc) and try and be a patient not super-parent.

Keep hydrated. If you feel too weak to sit up have a water bottle, glass and straw or even borrow the kids sippy cup to make sure you can keep drinking water. I say water - any fluid is fine but plain water is fine or you can sip "Jewish Penicillin" (light tasty chicken soup) or soothing home-made drinks containing blends of ingredients like honey, ginger and lemon which are all thought to have medicinal properties-there are some great recipes here.

Rest. You need to listen to your body and if it is saying "stay in bed" then listen. Sleep if you can or indulge in a box set on the TV if your symptoms are making sleep difficult.

If you are suffering with a blocked nose or painful sinuses try making a humidifying tent - put hot (steaming) water in a bowl, add menthol, peppermint or eucalyptus drops if you like the smell and drape a towel over your head as you breathe in the steam from the bowl through your nose for around 30 seconds. Be very careful with the water though, especially if using for vulnerable patients, young and old.

You could use hot and cold compresses for sinuses too -just use hot and cold water on two flannels and press onto your forehead or nose - wherever the pain is.

Hopefully you won't need any of these tips - wishing you a happy and healthy Christmas!

Christmas bauble wreath

Disclaimer: Collaborative post.


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