For the last three weeks I have been battling with my health trying to get on top of what seems to be a bout of flu. It began with a sore throat and quickly turned into a terrible cough that kept me up all nights, aches all over and fatigue that kept me in bed for a week. As most of you know I am already battling chronic fatigue, which is hard enough in itself, so throw another illness on top of that and it’s rock bottom. But, hopefully I am now coming out of the other side of it and so I thought I’d share my advice on how to survive when you get one illness on top of a chronic one.
1. Surround yourself with what you need.
From medicines, tissues, Vicks, things to keep you occupied, comfy pillows and blankets and your mobile – make sure you or someone helping you grabs all those things and puts them within easy reach. This saves you having to go up and down the stairs when all you want to do is sleep.
2. Drink honey and lemon.
Honey is a great aid for a sore throat and the lemon helps cut through the congestions, so add them to a cup of boiling water for a drink that eases your burning throat and helps alleviate your symptoms for a little bit.
3. Take paracetamol regularly.
Paracetamol helps with the aches and pains, keeps your temperature down and generally lessens your symptoms in order for you to manage better. There are no points for ‘being brave’ and getting through it without medicating so give your body all the support you can and take those tablets.
I put a teaspoon full of Vicks in a bowl of boiling hot water and put my face over the bowl with a tea towel over my head to keep the steam in. I cannot tell you how many times doing this has eased my throat and coughing just enough to get a couple of hours of solid sleep. There’s nothing worse than it taking ages to get yourself comfy, you dropping off, only to be woken a few minutes later by a horrible cough.
5. Have a nice soak.
This time I found some Olbas Oil and added some to a warm bath, closed the door and just laid in the warm water for a while. My husband put a towel and my pyjamas on the radiator so they were nice and warm to climb into and it was a lovely way to ease my chest and relax before climbing back into bed.
6. Rest, rest rest, then rest some more.
It’s so easy to wake up one feeling a little better so you get up and do too much. I fell foul of this one weekend and really paid for it for the next few days. If you feel a little better, still take your tablets and maybe go downstairs, but still make sure you rest and take it easy. If you don’t you risk prolonging your illness.
7. Try and stay positive.
One thing I managed to do this time around was remain relatively positive. I knew I was ill, I accepted I would have to stay in bed and I just got on with it. I am at the end of week three and I admit by now I am getting fed up of looking at four walls with just the TV and the odd hello from my husband and children for company, but not having an absolute emotional meltdown and feeling like I was spiralling into black hole is a whole new experience for me and something I’m proud of managing.