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Under the weather? How to care for yourself

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Written By Meghan Henoumont

Noses are red and jackets are zipped up tight. It finally feels like the autumn season here in New Orleans. Which of course means it’s another season as well, flu season.

Remember when you were a kid and getting sick meant staying home from school? The day unfolded from a makeshift bed on the couch and featured “Saved by the Bell” reruns, PJs and endless bowls of cereal? If only some things stayed the same.

Now getting sick and sitting a day out conjures up responsibility panic. Missing work means missing money, and missing classes means getting notes and extra studying. Nobody needs extra stress while trying to recover from a bout of the flu. Here’s a guide to help you get back on your feet and taking care of business in no time.

Ounce of Prevention

Here are some basics habits that can be cultivated to prevent getting sick. Remember though, there’s really only so much you can do.

  • Wash those hands. Self-explanatory and a basic hygiene practice, but to prevent the flu, you will need to go beyond the norm before eating and after the bathroom routine. If you notice people around you are getting sick, wash your hands as often as possible.
  • Layer-up! As the temperature drops, make sure you have warm clothing. Cold wind equals a snotty nose and a prime avenue for spreading a virus. If you get around by bike or on foot this is your main tip. Wear a warm hat, gloves, knee-length socks and a scarf that you can wrap around your nose and mouth.
  • Eat well. Take your supplements. One of the best ways to boost your immune system is to have a healthy diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Canned/preserved fruits and vegetables do not count and offer little in the nutrient department. The jury’s still out on vitamins in the medical community, but popping some Echinacea and Vitamin C couldn’t hurt.
  • De-stress: Not only does stress cause a myriad of health problems from anxiety to obesity but it lowers your immune system as well. Take a drive, read a book or whatever else helps you to chill out.
  • Get a flu shot! Better safe than sorry.

Pound of Cure

So you did everything you could to prevent it and it still happens. You’re sick. More than likely at the worst possible time, as in you have two tests and a class speech that week. This only seems to happen to adults. Here are some tips to speed up the recovery process and get back to your life.

  1. Take your temperature. Yep, if it’s over 100 degrees you are the proud owner of an infection/virus. Your body is heating itself up to kill the intruder. You need to rest and keep yourself hydrated while your body does its job. You can go the sports drink route but most doctors will tell you mixing Pedialyte and good ‘ole H20 is your best bet.
  2. Whatever you’re doing when you start feeling bad, stop, like now. Leave class or work. Go home and lay down. You’ll wind up missing more days  if you don’t start caring for yourself immediately.
  3. Get comfy, you’ll be here awhile. It’s a good idea when you start living on your own to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet for this reason alone. Going to the drugstore when you’re not feeling well is like sitting through a really bad date instead of leaving. Here’s a rundown of meds to keep on hand during flu season:

 

  • Day-time/night-time flu medicine.
  • Epsom salts ( for body aches )
  • Throat lozenges
  • Mucus meds
  • Tissues/hand sanitizer for your bedside table
  • Nasal spray
  • Vapor Rub/de-humidifier to actually get some sleep

When you don’t feel good, everything will piss you off. When sick, you are likely to lose your faith in humanity. This, too, will pass.

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