Today I am writing from the confines of my cozy apartment, wrapped in a blanket, where I haven’t really moved much in the past week. I recently got hit with what I have dubbed so appropriately as the“hammer flu”.
Since focusing on a more paleo, whole food nutritional approach and being in sync with what my physical and mental needs are, I really haven’t gotten sick more than usual. My immune system typically does an okay job keeping me on my feet, which is quite lovely with the workload I like to maintain.
This time of year I usually have a cold or something less intense, but the flu penetrated my immune system, and I was not ready. I never get flu shots or vaccinations – I am pretty concerned about how ineffective they can be.
It is so important to know- I am not a child or elderly person who tend to be at higher risks for the more severe flu symptoms. (Definitely consult with your doctor if you are debating getting the flu shot and remember, I am not a medical doctor and my comments on the flu shot are just that, my comments.)
I have no idea how I got it, but considering the heightened levels of the flu outbreak this year, it isn’t surprising I did. Especially because I really got hit after a few nights of restless sleep.
The flu is scary thing, you guys!
I was out for a total of five days, and am currently on day seven of recovery and am still getting slightly winded and experiencing pretty intense fatigue regularly. And yes, you read that right, FIVE DAYS. Luckily, I had a dear friend who was around during the scariest and hardest days of the flu, who brazenly took care of me, unafraid of this epidemic. He also made frequent trips to the grocery store for things that really made this flu “trip” less unbearable.
I know everyone’s flu experience is different, especially with the strain that you get, but I wanted to share a few of the things that saved me.
My throat hurt so bad that I was risking dehydration daily; water was difficult to drink. Because my throat hurt I was also drinking everything out of a straw. (I just purchased these stainless steel straws that are amazing). For some reason, which I am attributing to my bodies need for nutrients and sugar, the only thing I could find appetizing enough to drink was cranberry juice. This was super weird as I am not a frequent juice drinker but I went through a liter or two of this throughout the last week.
2. White Rice
NO, WHITE RICE ISN’T PALEO. Again, this was one of the only things I could manage eating with the amount of nausea I was experiencing. My friend made a really elaborate, amazing, hearty veggie stew, so I poured some broth over the rice and tried to eat as much as I could.
3. Frozen Fruit Bars:
Everything in me wanted one of those slushies you get from the gas station, mainly because my body was craving sugar and I knew it would feel amazing on my throat. But honestly, I always feel like crap after eating these and I didn’t even want to risk is. So I got some amazing rozen strawberry bars with real fruit.
Pro Tip: Throw a bar in a glass with a straw paired with cranberry juice and smoosh it up, and there you go, you have your own slushy.
These crackers never fail. I had been taking some Tamaflu to reduce my flu symptoms and it made me so incredibly nauseous. I would eat a few of these and they would make my nausea disappear. This may not sound like a lot, but to be able to eliminate one of the negative symptoms I was feeling was totally worth it.
Need I say anymore?
I am not kidding when I say I would rather do ANYTHING than rub this disgusting, overpowering, awful rub on my body. Getting forcefully rubbed down as a child when sick has left me with some awful memories of this smell. However, I caved – my mom would be so proud. There was one day in particular, day II, that was incredibly awful where I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and I pulled this awful (read: fantastic, magical) rub out the closet and covered myself and sat in the shower. And it helped, so incredibly much. This stuff is so overpowering, but it works.
7. Cough Drops
I wasn’t really coughing as much as I was looking for something to make my throat stop burning. I had a couple of these little nuggets and they did the momentary trick.
8. Air Purifier
Something about being sick really makes everything smells and taste awful. Whether it is an air purifier or a humidifier, just getting some air circulating throughout the space helped my congestion and throat-ache.
9. Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo
The worst part about having the flu is the days after the fever breaks when you have to be patient with your body and rest, even though your mind may be read to get back to regularly scheduled programming. Big kudos to the streaming services that helped me stay resting even when I didn’t want to.
Overall, the flu messed with my regular schedule for about a week. By day five I was experiencing mad cabin fever but with maximum fatigue. It is so annoying, especially as someone who is Type A, to be not able to work and forced to rest for so long, but it is what I had to do to get well. I have heard horror stories of people picking themselves up by the bootstraps and going to work or exercising after a few days, and that is SO DANGEROUS! Not only are you putting others at risk, but most likely you will fall into a relapse sickness, especially with a weakened immune system.
One of the most important things that helped me get through this flu was rest and knowing everything is temporary. It was awful and extremely uncomfortable, but as long as you remember everything is temporary you can push through. BUT ALSO if your fever won’t break, or your flu is extended, please please see your doctor immediately. This flu has been killing people. I went to my doctor on the first day, so I felt safer not returning to the doctor after that, although I was tempted on day II.
Please take care of yourself, get lots of rest and wash your hands lovelies! I hope the flu does not find its way into your home.