Most of us will tend to take our health for granted when we are well and able.
When we fall sick or injured ourselves, then we will realise that functions that we take for granted, from having energy to perform our activities to daily mobility is something so valuable.
It has been raining for these past few years at where I stay. In my bag, I always carry an umbrella but never like to use it unless the rain is so heavy that it will drench my clothes. In fact, I love to walk in a light shower, and if it is windy at the same time, it’s a great bonus.
So, for the past few days, I have been walking in the rain. On Thursday after lunch, it rained when I was finishing lunch with my friend. So she opened her umbrella and volunteered to share with me. I told her to use the umbrella herself because I enjoy walking in the rain- and it was especially nice because it was windy at the same time. Then, the same day after work, I bumped into another worker and it was raining outside. He did not have an umbrella but I did- he asked if he could share my small umbrella. I told him he could have the umbrella all to himself- which being a gentleman, he offered to hold it over me.
So by Thursday night, I started developing joint pains- most of my joints- elbow, hip, fingers, knee were in mild pain. By Friday afternoon (yesterday), my doctor confirmed I’ve developed a fever, flu and mild cough. I was losing my voice, my whole body ached, I had no appetite and no mood at all. It’s a terrible feeling which I am not accustomed to.
Looking back, I could see a few contributing factors that made me sick:
- very high intake of caffeine for the past few weeks. When I take my 3-in-1 coffee, I normally add additional doses of Nescafe to make the coffee thicker. Then I was drinking lattes and coffee in the evening to keep me awake to do work. I’ve noticed that my body’s immune system goes down whenever I take too much caffeine
- drinking ice cold water. I take lots of fluid daily to keep myself hydrated. And instead of just drinking warm water, I have developed the habit of drinking cold water. This is because cold water is supposed to hydrate your body faster, and also, I find that it also helps to wake me up- especially in the mornings. Any Chinese practitioner will tell you that drinking cold water is very bad for your system- it’s like pouring cold water into a hot burning engine- you will literally see smoke coming out.
When I went to see the doctor yesterday, I only asked her for lozenges for my sore throat and requested not to have antibiotics (because I do not believe in them). I had to stay up late to finish up my work and working with the fever is a real torture. But after I reached home, I had 2 pieces of yong tau foo and drank lots of water. Then, my mom gave me a bitter concoction of what is known as “snake grass”, a bitter type of leave known to cure sore throat. I went to sleep after that, walking up in between to go to the bathroom and drink more water. By morning, I had felt better.
So when there is fever/flu:
- drink lots of water- does not matter if you have to visit the bathroom more often
- take food that is easy to digest- when you are sick, everything, including your digestive system is not working well. So do not tax it more with oily, greasy food. Take simple food that is easy for your body to digest like noodle soup, sandwich or bread. Or just take Ensure or Enercal– it has all the nutrients that a person on tube feeding can live on.
- 100 Plus isotonic drink is also good
- take lots of rest- when you sleep, you give your body a chance to fight against the virus.
There is a difference between virus and bacteria:
Like when you have flu, it’s due to a virus. No medicine could cure the flu virus. But your doctor may put you through a course of antibiotics- it is to kill the bacteria (that’s why it’s call anti-biotics and not anti-virus). When a person is having flu, the virus attack weakens the immune system, so the bacteria will take advantage and attack the body as well. The antibiotics is given so that hopefully the flu does not get worse due to bacteria infections.
I am normally quite stubborn. I always want my body to fight any sickness by itself and will not resort to medication unless I had to- like when I am travelling, have to complete an important assignment or test. Else, if I have fever, I will try to let it run its course naturally by trying to get more rest, drink lots of water, eat nutritious but easily digestible food. It takes longer to cure but I am able to built a stronger resistance.
But you also need to be careful with fever-for adults if the temperature goes above 104 F, it’s high. Above 106 F, it’s very dangerous- you need to seek treatment ASAP. I have seen before an adult suffering brain damage due to very high fever. And the person behaves and thinks exactly like a child.