We rarely view being sick as something positive. It is painful and tedious, it put a break on life and hinders us. We can’t work, do laundry, drink coffee with girlfriends, go to yoga class, wine and dine with our husband and take care of our family. And all we can think of, whilst we wrestle fever and snot, is how much time we’ve lost already.
It’s quite hard to imagine, but there used to be a time, not so long ago, when having the flu was welcomed. Sounds weird? I bet! Yet the reason why is simple and clear. When you have the flu your body produces antibodies. These antibodies help you battle the flu virus. It helps you get well again. And as a result of this antibody production, and battle, your immunity improves. This is how kids’ immune systems are formed, how they grow strong. But it serves us adults too. Our immune system is a tad stronger, after every fully flushed out flu. The fever that flu arrives hand in hand with causes your temperature to rise. This increase of body heat is a powerful and smart technique to destroy the viral stuff that made you sick in the first place. Fever is also a way to up your metabolism. When your metabolism speeds up body tissue, such as harmed cells, heal quicker. Fever basically accelerates recovery.
Can you imagine the look on my face when my husband popped a pain pill as soon as he started to experience the flu? A regular over-the-counter pain pill that doesn’t just reduce pain, it lowers the fever. And because it does so, the body does not get enough opportunity to fully rid itself of the virus. This slows down recovery and very regularly shows up in other parts of your body. All of a sudden you have an infected eye, ear or throat. And this ‘not-fully-experienced-flu’ could also have you walk around with symptoms such as low energy and recurring colds.
I am quite happy with my annual flu. It stops the clock from ticking. I am allowed to stay in bed after dawn. To be more specific, I am allowed to stay in bed all day. I may get bored, a bit frustrated with not being able to do anything. Yet I try to focus exclusively on rest and recuperation. What’s happening outside of my room or home is, for now, of no real importance.
My annual flu tells me my immunity is functioning fantastically. For not being sick EVER does not necessarily mean your immune system is in optima forma. Catching ‘little bugs’ and supporting your body at battling them, works sort of like a test run. It prepares your body to deal adequately with larger health problems, more threatening dis-eases. Thus every time I arise post-flu, I am thankful. Because I know I am a little bit stronger and capable.
There are a couple of techniques I apply to support my flu-ed body. I will share these tips with you as they will help you embrace taking time and get stronger than you ever were.
Deze post is een bewerking van het Nederlandse artikel ‘de kunst van het griep-hebben’ dat ik voor Happinez Magazine schreef. Je vind de originele versie HIER.
Kyra’s ‘how to get stronger after the flu’ plan:
-Stay in bed and keep the curtains closed. Still the senses so you can focus on the internal battle.
-Sleep. When you sleep, you produce growth hormones. These repair your body and speed up healing.
-Drink. Warm water and herbal teas are best. Ask your partner, mother or friend to make you a big bottle of ginger, turmeric, lemon, raw honey and black pepper infusion. Sip on this throughout the day. It will keep you hydrated and the spices will help your immune system.
-It is, by the way, totally okay to ask for help. If you have kids, ask for your mother (jn law) to care for them. Or let your husband arrange after school play sessions at friends. A support system is vital. Be willing to let go of your responsibilities for a moment.
-Eat small bites. Soups and light stews are perfect ‘sick’ food. They will keep you warm and comfortable. I prefer a broth made from raw garlic, which is a natural antibiotic, ginger, to reduces mucus, and shiitakes, to boost immunity.
-Dress warm. This will support your fever and get you to sweat it out.
-Got snot? Use a neti pot or a simple salt solution to clean out the sinuses. I keep a cut raw onion next to my bed, which helps as well.
-When I cough or have a sore throat I take a teaspoon of raw honey, a few times per day.
-Fever free? Go ahead, wrap yourself in all things warm, and go sit in the sunshine on your balcony or in your yard. I even do this in winter. Vitamin D is another one of those powerful natural medicines. It battles viruses and ‘bad’ bacteria.
But possibly the most important medicine of all is time. For when you give things the time they require, the result can be nothing but strong and reliable. Trees need the friction caused by wind for their roots to grow deep and strong. We humans are no different. Flu may feel like unwanted and frustrating friction. But if we go with it, and not against it, it will help us build the sturdiest of foundations.
Got an impaired immune system, do you have high temperatures (>40 degrees Celsius) or 4-5 days of fever? Go ahead and contact your GP.
photos and text (c) kyra at kyra’s kitchen.