Topic Tuesday #150 2015/06/02 "Sick Day Stuff"

Topic Tuesday #150 2015/06/02 "Sick Day Stuff"

I'm sick today. I have the sore throat, fevers, aches and pains, dizziness, and general crud. My day job requires me to drive around a lot, and I was in no shape to be on the road. I'm in my later thirties and have pushed myself pretty hard over the years, even when sick. At this point I have achieved a more realistic plateau. Today, I'm not doing anything heavy, except typing, cooking enough for myself to not pass out, and keeping my fluids up.  A very good friend of mine insinuated that I take pretty good care of myself, and I do, but not everyone does. Should you have a sick friend or relative, they might benefit from your help. So, here is what I've been doing to take care of myself.

Hot Tea: Lemon & Ginger Herbal (As in no actual tea) with lots of honey. There is something about the combination that soothes the throat like nothing else. 

Over the Counter Pain Medicine, especially NSAID (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs) Not only will Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), Naproxen Sodium (Aleve), and Aspirin (Ecotrin), help with aches, pains and fevers, but that anti-inflammatory can help with relieving moderate swelling. Abuse of these drugs can cause a variety of problems, like ulcers, liver and kidney failure - so don't do that... BUT, for a short time you can up your dose a little (speak to your primary care physician for what is safe for you). Also, having all these drugs in your kit will allow you to overlap the dosing schedule. Naproxen is a long lasting NSAID, one every 12 hours (see your package for dose). People metabolize drugs differently than others and some will find that it may work on a fever, but does nothing for an ache. Instead of having to wait a full 12 hours before you can make yourself less miserable, you can take something else after a few hours. (Again, talk to your doctor, I'm not a doctor and provide this as a conceptual view of taking care of the ill.)

It would be wise to make note of when you take what. Pain is a horrible thing and clouds perception of time and can be rather convincing in getting you to take too much of any one kind. Also be aware that many name brand drugs have the same active ingredient, so though you are taking two different things you are actually over dosing on the active drug.  Cough syrups, like Nyquil is mostly acetaminophen and depending on the variety you get it may also have a nasal decongestant, and then you want to avoid taking a similar decongestant as well. Read the labels and take your time. Don't make life worse by sending yourself to the hospital.

Food: For some reason, honey is so wonderful for the sick. It's sweet, it's a natural antimicrobial, it's sticky so it soothes your throat. My daughters love a spoonful of honey when they feel sick, and so do I. I also like honey on my toast, and usually add a little peanut butter too. This is nice, quick comfort food that's easy on my stomach and provides lasting energy when you need it. Soup is an old favorite and especially good since it is easy to digest and provides more fluids for flushing all the crud your immune system is taking care of. There is always the can of chicken soup in your pantry, but I find there is just too much salt in them. I like to make my own soup. This is not for everyone, and you can find lower sodium options in your store. If you want to try your hand at it while you are well to freeze for later, or you happen to be the friend tending to the ill, you can do a lot worse than recipes from America's Test Kitchen. They do charge for membership, but their recipies are the best you can find, without digging through grandma's dusty reipie box.

One thing you should learn to make is a basic broth. I tend to make turkey soup so I save the carcass from the turkey at thanksgiving and christmas and use them in making the broth. In a large stock pot, 3 quarts of water, the carcass, a coarsely chopped onion, a couple coarsely chopped carrots, a few cloves of garlic, a pinch of thyme, a bay leaf, and a teaspoon of salt. Bring it all to a boil, then drop it down to simmer for about 2 hours. Then you will run it all trough a fine mesh to get rid of the solids and have the  broth. Play with it, and you will find out what you like; then the sky's the limit on what you do. Try this turkey soup recipe next time you roast a bird.

Spicy. I like to eat very spicy things when I am stuffed up. It clears out my sinuses and scratches the itch of my sore throat. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce has pretty much changed my life. 


Take care out there, and get plenty of rest.