Sunday, September 25, 2011

Germ Warfare

As public school begins, even though we homeschool, I begin my germ warfare against the common cold. It is inevitable that as soon as large groups of children join together, illness breaks out. So, I started this September with adding an immune booster to our diet.

Unfortunately, the common cold still got a hold of us. It took advantage of our weakened states from suffering the ill effects of contaminated well water after the massive rainfalls of Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. It took advantage of my 3 year old's weakened immune system from her extremely picking eating habits and gut problems. Thankfully, even in her weakened state, the immune boosters (and simply being a child) helped and she recovered within 3 days with nothing more than plenty of nose rubbing and fussing.

The baby got it next with tell-tale fussiness, congestion that kept him up all night, and a runny nose. Although he's too young for me to comfortably give him supplements, he recovered quickly, too, thanks to his overall health, well-being and vitality.

But then, I got it. As soon as I felt that prickle in the back of my throat, I upped my supplementation to battlefield levels. Plenty of vitamin C, extra immune boosters, echinacea, garlic and extra multi vitamins. Herbal teas were increased.

Colds run the same course for me. I start out with the scratch in my throat. Then, it's 2-3 days of a burning sore throat, often with earaches. After that is a day of congestion followed by a day of my nose turning into a faucet. Then, some more congestion and earaches as the mucus gels into that green, thick stuff that you blow out all at once and feel better afterwards. That usually lasts from 2-5 days.

Now that I supplement and engage in germ warfare, the colds follow the same path but with less severity and a shorter duration. This time around, the sore throat was very mild. It felt more like I spent the night sleeping with my mouth open rather than the inflammed, on fire burning. The congestion part was very mild, too. I could breathe through both nostrils at all times.

I am currently in the middle part of the cold as I type this. I've been up since 3 am because this cold does have a uniqueness to it in that the overall congestion (not just nasal) settles at night and makes it hard to breathe. I spend a good hour just clearing myself of it. I also have a dry cough probably associated with an irritated throat from acid reflux I've recently started suffering with along with the irritation of the sore throat I had with this cold. The congestion and associated pain along with the coughing has greatly reduced now that I've had a cup of chamomile tea with Manuka Honey.

Tea tree oil is also an important part of my warfare against the cold. I dab some on a cotton ball and put it on top of the humidifier in my children's room as a safer and more effective alternative to Vicks.

I also believe in the helpfulness of medicinal doses of a good single malt scotch. Yes, I've had some people raise eyebrows in obvious protest to the use of alcohol, but these same people have no problem drowning their viral sorrows in Nyquil, a chemical (and, yes, alcohol) laden medication. I'll take the scotch and my herbal remedies, thank you. I'm trying to kill this cold, not suppress the symptoms and possibly causing the cold to drag on.

Usually, if I get attacked by a cold when I'm in a particularly healthful state, I can successfully kill the cold in a couple of days with very mild symptoms. But since I went into this cold already compromised (and naughtily enjoying junk food which does nothing but make the immune food work harder and weaken more), I'm paying the price. Thankfully, the supplements make it a lot less miserable than it could be.

Update: I chickened out on Sunday and bought OTC meds for cough and cold and possible allergies....yep, one of those all-in-one cocktails. I was sick of being sick and wanted to go to church. Well, it didn't do much but make me feel worse. I should have stayed home, slept and let the mucus work its own way out. After all, that's what it was trying to do when I forced the symptoms to slow with chemicals. I was so miserable by the evening, that I caved and went to Urgent Care for antibiotics.

I know full well that antibiotics don't do anything for viral infections and it was most likely I had a viral infection. I also know how antibiotics can do harm, possibly irreversible harm, to my already damaged gut from the contaminated well (and junk food...ahem...2 donuts in 1 week? What as I thinking?!) So, I got the script, but thankfully the pharmacies were closed, giving me time to "sleep on it."

I woke up feeling miserable, took my supplements and considered the script again. I normally wouldn't feel so pressed, but I have my grandfather's wake and funeral this week. But, as I had my tea and hopped in the shower, things started to work as nature intended them and I was able to expel a fair amount of the irritants and realize that I am indeed not falling into bronchitis, but just suffering from a settled cold.

So, after tomorrow (because after the funeral, we're having a luncheon at a fantastic Italian restaurant) I am going on a GAPS-inspired diet. I'm sick of being sick. I've been sick this entire month. I also have some thoughts and ideas on improving the overall health of my home.

1 comment:

Elisabeth Black said...

Good tips, Kate. I'm glad the children are well now, and hope you feel better soon.