Saturday, January 11, 2014

Health Matters

In the past, I have never been a sickly person. When I was younger I think I got mumps, shingles, I broke my little toe and got the odd cold and cough but I was hardly ever off school ill. Partly because my Mum wouldn't allow me to anyway, unless I was really ill, but mainly because I didn't need to be off as I was never that ill.

I started teaching in 2006 and in my first year I was off for nearly three weeks, all at different times, for various colds, coughs and stomach bugs. I was told it was normal, that your body is adjusting to being around so many germs and the immune system needed to get used to it.

Since then, from about October to March I seemed to get every cold that was going, not enough to make me need to have time off, I still felt a bit off, but it didn't warrant needing time off all the time. However, it's got progressively worse since then. I think the trigger was getting glandular fever and tonsillitis at the same time about three years ago. I felt more ill than I ever have done in my life (from what I can remember!). I remember I started feeling ill on a Saturday afternoon and by 8pm I was in bed shivering. I never do that. I didn't even have wine! The hubby knew something was properly wrong as I can't remember the last time I didn't drink on a Saturday (until I got pregnant!). That was the start of three weeks off work and even when I went back, I didn't feel 100%. Since then, when I do get a cold or a cough etc it completely floors me. I can't shift it for weeks. When I was off on maternity leave, my health improved slightly; I only got one cold and I managed to shift it within a week. But since I've been back to work in September I have been off three separate times with the exact same thing. It starts as pain in my face and jaw, all around my sinuses and then a headache. Then comes a cold and a cough and sore throat. My neck stiffens up and I can't move it properly and when I do my whole head throbs. It's absolutely horrible. I got this in October and had to take 5 days off and then just before the Christmas holidays it made a return and this time with gusto and I had 10 days off! I was actually signed off this time and put on antibiotics. However as soon as I stopped taking them, this awful cough developed and the pain in my face came back.

I (unwisely) googled the words 'constant sore throat and cough' and braced myself for the results. But it was a bit inconclusive. A constant chesty cough is apparently down to reflux and you should take antacids for it! I don't really think the cause of my cough is that though. Anyway, I clicked the link that said how to get better and typically it said rest. How do you rest with a full time teaching job and a 10 month old baby who wakes up at 1am every day?! I rest as much as I can when I get home, but I just cannot take anymore time off work. It also said to sip water throughout the day, drink honey and lemon, don't drink alcohol or caffeine and avoid warm stuffy rooms. This was all information and advice from a reliable website so I have decided to heed its advice.

For the first time ever I have decided that this weekend is going to be a dry weekend. No wine for me! I actually feel quite good about it. I am determined to get my health back on track and not get ill or let it linger. I have been having at least three bottles of water at work from 8.30-3.30 when I finish and at home I have been having cordial and water rather than tea or coffee or fizzy vimto to ensure I am not having too much caffeine.  I need to be fit and healthy to make sure I can be the best Mum to Charlie. Also, I am tired of being ill. It's getting me down and I want to feel normal again. I am taking vitamin C and D and using Cold Defence spray every single day. I don't know if all these things will work, but I have to give it a go. If not, I'm going back to the doctor to ask for some tests. I only had blood tests a few months ago (for something else) and nothing showed up then, so perhaps I just do have a weakened immune system. Why do I keep getting ill? Why do I catch everything that's going? Fortunately (and touch wood), I seem to avoid tummy bugs now, but I always have some sort of cough, sore throat, cold type bug. I know that we have to expect a certain amount of colds throughout the year, it's normal to some extent, but the constant feeling ill is not normal. Is it because of pregnancy, does it lower you immune system afterwards?

Anyone got any tips on how to deal with things like this?

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