I think the title pretty much sums it up. Anyone want to know what I’ve been up to since school started? Sickness. Just good ‘ole slimy nosed, coughing, fevers, diarrhea, buggy sickness. Gross. Sometimes I feel like a school building is really just a front for a bacterial mixer party just waiting for the cocktail of children and faculty to find their way back so they can feast on their unsuspecting immune systems. It makes me want to wear a hazmat suit and carry disinfectant in my purse. Outside of a nasty run in with food poisoning and my occasional tension headaches, I’ve been fortunate enough to not catch the bugs my children have brought home. I swear the first two weeks of school I was convinced with how much my kids were sick and not able to attend school I was just going to have to quit my job and home school them all.
And to be honest, with my anxiety is the way it is, on high alert, this doesn’t help. Google is not always a friend. Doing google searches on “what’s a normal temperature for a 6 year old” or “should snot be this color” sends me down a rabbit hole of anxiety. Like Alice, I find it pretty darn difficult to climb my way out of that sucker!
So, what to do? I seriously don’t have a solid answer for this one folks. I’m sorry, just being honest with you. With that said, I think we should explore this a little more.
Are germs always bad?
I may catch some flack from you all for this, but I really believe that no, it’s not always a bad thing to get (a little) sick or be exposed. I know it sounds a little counter-intuitive, but I think of it to a certain degree like exercising a muscle. Stay with me here. Imagine your immune system is a muscle (for the record I’m not saying your immune system is a muscle…I’m using a metaphor- it had to be said). Like a muscle, if you never flex it or work it out…if all it does is lays there dormant- it will be weak and susceptible to injury.
I’m not saying go lick a shopping cart or anything, but maybe don’t over-sanitize either. Let your immune “muscle” get a small workout. And remember not all bacteria is bad bacteria!
So What am I doing to stay healthy?
Well isn’t this the question of the week. It’s really difficult for me to not want to bomb the world with hand sanitizer at times so a lot of self-talk comes in to play here. My mantra? “A little dirt is okay, it’s okay for things to not be overly sanitized”. Whether I can convince myself of that is a topic for another day. In addition to talking myself out of crying in a corner wearing a hazmat suit, I’ve also taken to doing these few things to keep my immune system in check and the bugs at bay:
- Vitamin C- It really depends on who you talk to on this one. Some doctors will tell you this is a bunch of hogwash. Personally though, I believe it doesn’t hurt anything. It’s an anti-oxidant that helps to give my immune system some support. I tend to take a supplement when I can, otherwise I try to just boost my intake of it (eating lots of citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables- Broccoli anyone?)
- Boosting my good bacteria- Probiotics have gotten a lot of news lately and for good reason. Remember those “good” bacteria I was referring to earlier? Yeah, those would be the bacteria that make up your microbiome. Here’s the thing with this though- and a small disclaimer, I hope to learn more about it in the future and I will update from there- but there are hundreds of thousands of different bacteria that can live in the gut at any given moment. And not everyone has the same bacteria shacking up in their guts. There are some things I’ve learned in all my reading and training- families are more likely to have similar microbiomes, those who live in the same geographical areas are more likely to have similar microbiomes, and fecal transplants are really a thing.
- Washing my hands- the good ole stand by. For this I honestly don’t use antibacterial soap most of the time (unless I’m somewhere where that’s all that is available). I wash at the regular times- before meals, after using the bathroom, and if I’ve touched or handled something dirty or something like raw meat. And that’s about it. There is such a thing as too much hand washing which will lead to dryness and cracking, which in turn is like a “ENTER HERE” sign for nasty germs. So remember hand washing is good, but too much of a good thing is bad.
- Oil pulling- some of you may have heard of this, some of you may not. For those of you who haven’t heard of oil pulling, what I’m about to say may gross you out and convince you that I am indeed weird. Oil pulling is the act of taking a teaspoon of oil in your mouth and swishing it around for 10-20 minutes, and then spitting it out. There’s a few oils out there that are typically used- either Coconut, Sunflower, or Sesame. I have found the most evidence to support the use of Coconut, so for me personally, that’s what I use. Coconut oil is rich in anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-microbial properties which helps to rid the teeth, tongue, and throat of any potential nasty nasties floating around. Usually I do this in the morning. I take a teaspoon full before my morning shower and swish it around for 15-20 minutes, then I spit it out either down the shower drain (not ideal cause yes it can clog up your drain) or in the garbage. I TRY to remember to spit it in the garbage but let’s be real, I’m human and it doesn’t always happen. Following my morning swish I rinse my mouth with a little water and brush my teeth. People honestly ask me how my teeth are so white- I don’t have any studies to back me up, but I’m pretty certain this is why.
So that’s it for what I’ve been doing. In addition to just practicing my normal self-care routine to keep my stress and anxiety at bay. What helpful things have you all been practicing to keep healthy this fall? Feel free to share in the comments below!
Until next time,