Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sick Suggestions

In the past few weeks or so it has been my general observation that there are lots of seasonally sick people out there. I know what your fatigue, your pain and overall ickiness is like. Here are some tips from one sickie to another.

Sleep is critical from recovering from illness be it on-going or just seasonally sick. If you find your sleeping patterns to be skewed, don't fret too much. A good rule of thumb is to cut off all naps at 4:30. Go to bed at or before 9 p.m. Rest throughout the day if your body needs it but try to avoid resting to the point where you do not sleep through the night. If you are having troubles sleeping, read something really boring or just stare at the ceiling. Eventually you will close your eyes out of boredom. Counting sheep is too much work for me... or else I would suggest it.

Eating patterns can be interrupted when ill. I almost never feel hungry. Actually, I have a feeding schedule I follow daily. Generally I do not realize my body needs more fuel until I am about ready to pass out. There are ways to avoid this. If you forget to eat, make a feeding schedule. For example: 8 a.m. one yogurt and a piece of toast, 12 a.m. PB and J with an apple, so on and so forth. Map out your food day and follow accordingly. Make sure your calories meet your needs.

Nothing tastes good. Sometimes nothing tastes better than dirt to me. On such days I will have some crackers and milk or a power bar. Just to have something in my stomach for the day. Both options provide some energy while not having to eat more than a few bite fulls.

Stomach is unsettled or you are 12+ hours out from throwing up. Start light. A piece of lightly butter toast (one and only time I am going to suggest white over wheat...), popscickle, low sodium broth, a few crackers or dry cereal. Personally I am a fan of toast points. DO NOT eat apples, tomatoes, pizza, or anything else with a fair amount of weight or spice. Before you know it, it will be back up again.

Drink your fluids! Extremely critical when getting over something. I love orange juice when I have a cold. But don't just drink orange juice! Water, lots of water. Helps to flush things out.

Dropping weight while sick? Shedding a few pounds is normal but if you have lost lots of weight... you probably need to put it back on. There are many ways to sneak in calories so you do not feel like you are eating more than you can handle. First, increase the milk fat up to 2% (really really skinny? Whole milk). So if you drink skim like you're supposed to which has 80 calories per glass, upping to 2% gives you 130 calories per glass. An extra 50 calories per glass without even thinking about it. Second put a tablespoon of oil (canola is a nuetral oil, you'll never taste it) in your cereal, it adds calories without making you eat more. Third, have munchies. Things like trail mix, granola, pretzels, and popcorn are all very munchy esque. Trail mix and granola especially have lots of calories for a little portion. Try to have calorie dense snacks. Peanut butter and crackers is one of my favorites. Whatever you do, do not stuff yourself until you puke. The whole objective is to slowly put the weight back on, not to puke!

Achy icky constant pain. Try taking a warm bath or shower to relax the muscles (added bonus, if you are congested the steam helps decongest you.) Cover yourself with warm blankets in a position which feels semi-comfortable to you. If worst comes to worst take some tylenol, advil or alieve. Although I do not reccomend these products for hard core pain. They have little effect on it. But for minor aches and sick pains... it works fine.

Congested to the point where you can't sleep because you feel like you're suffocating? Niquel to the rescue! Or if you are like me and can't take Niquel, try Vicks Vapor rub. If you're really special like me and can't have Vick's on your skin put it on a wash cloth and set it next to your head. Welcome relief and possibly the sandman.

Fatigue is just part of the whole sick thing. However, there are a couple ways of coping with it. First, a simple way to get a bit of a boost is to take lots of vitamin C. Sometimes a good rest will help to replenish energy. If all else fails, call in sick and sleep. Your body needs to be provided with the tools to recover in order to fully get over whatever you have.

If you are: coughing up blood, puking for more than 24 hours, peeing dark brown urine, have a really bad fever, etc... GO TO THE DOCTORS! You need medical help fast!

Hopefully some of this hints, tips and tricks help the seasonal sickies out there. I use them all the time. Well wishes to all!

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