My 10 Step Immunity Boosting Plan

I feel a fraud for posting this…

I made this video back in November 2016 when I was recovering from Hand, Foot and Mouth (having already suffered with a sinus infection and tonsillitis since the start of October). The plan was in place, I was going to follow all these steps and emerge a healthy specimen. Erm, that didn’t really happen did it? Especially given that I’m currently fighting another sinus infection.

I was in two minds as to whether to post this or not, but thought I would so you can see what I’ve been trying to do to ward off lurgs. I’m sure some people assume I’ve just rolled over and succumbed to the bugs with little to no fight… Admittedly that fight hasn’t  worked very well so far but we live in hope.

I also want to be able to circle back in a few months (when I am a healthy specimen – screw you lurg!) and update you on what worked and what didn’t, and that wouldn’t make a lot of sense if I didn’t post the original video, so here it is…

And, if you don’t have time to watch the video, here’s my ten-step plan summarised in good old fashioned words…

STEP 1 – Take Vitamins

I’ve been taking:

Tesco Vitamin C chewable tablets

Wilko Echinacea tablets (there’s some similar ones here)

Holland & Barrett Chewable Acidophilus Tablets

I’ve been keeping these in a pill dispenser to make sure I don’t forget to take them.

STEP 2 – Prevention

At the first sign of a sniffle I’ve been spraying this Vicks First Defence Micro-Gel Nasal Spray up my nostrils.

STEP 3 – Drink Water

I’ve been using this clever Daily Water App to keep track of my water consumption and trying to drink more.

STEP 4 – Meditation

I use these CDs (saved to my phone) when I meditate.

STEP 5 – Me Time

I’ve been rediscovering the joy of reading. I’ve read this book on Hygge and this book on Toddler Taming.

STEP 6 – Diet

I don’t eat that badly. Although I am a bit of a sugar fiend. I want to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables to aid my immunity.

STEP 7 – Exercise

I’ve been planning to do exercise, although this is really a work in progress. The last time I did exercise was when I did Yogabellies when Elliott was a baby.

STEP 8 – Get Enough Sleep

STEP 9 – Stress Less

STEP 10 – Practice Good Hygiene

By making like Robbie Williams and rubbing this all over my hands at every opportunity!

What do you do to help to boost your immunity in the winter months?

Post contains affiliate links.

#raiseyourhands for Raynauds Awareness Month

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Cold hands; warm heart

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that I would be a millionaire. A millionaire with cold hands (and feet) but wealthy none-the-less.

I’m always the one tugging the sleeves down on my cardigan to keep my wrists and hands warm; slipping on my gloves at the slightest hint of chilly weather; getting criticism for poor body language as I fold my arms in an attempt to warm my hands up; and even, sitting on my hands to try to get the feeling back into them on particularly cold days.

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Raynauds is manageable for me. I was diagnosed with it during a doctors visit as a child. A trip to the GP about something else but my mother thought to ask about my hands which were often cold and would sometimes turn white or blue in response to low temperatures. In a matter of fact way the doctor explained that I likely had Raynaud’s, briefly explained what it was and that was that.

Fortunately, with a bit of forward planning, my Raynaud’s is manageable.

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I have varying gloves depending on the severity of the weather and what I have planned for that day. Thin leather gloves for driving and relatively mild days, gloves with touch screen functionality when I know I will be using my phone a lot, fingerless gloves with mitten fold-over bits for days where I need quick and easy access to my fingers and finally full-on dual layer skiing gloves for when I have to defrost the car.Oh and some wrist warmers for when it’s chilly but not quite glove weather, or to wear indoors when it’s cold but I need to type.

Don’t get me wrong. Raynaud’s can be inconvenient, truly annoying and very painful. There’s been a few times when I’ve slumped into my car in tears as my fingers are so sore from defrosting the windows on a freezing morning.There’s other times when a random finger will go white and numb making doing something everyday (like writing) almost impossible. Sometimes I struggle with what to wear, overheating on my torso because I’ve got to keep my cardigan on so that my wrists are covered to keep my hands warm. Then there’s those tender moments when you go to touch your loved ones and they recoil because your hands are absolutely bloomin’ freezing. I have hands for pastry; not passion it would seem and, yes, a very warm heart.

If you think you might have Raynaud’s you can take an online test and find out more here.

February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month.

 

Be Gone Foul Bug(s)

I’m writing this on a sunny but freezing cold Tuesday. I should be at work, but instead I am sat in a local cafe. I’ve just stuffed my face with scrambled eggs on toast and downed a cappuccino. Elliott is at nursery. I’m not skiving. Although I feel like I am. I am taking some time for me. Some long overdue time for me.

For the past few months (FOUR – not that I’m counting) I have been well for the odd day here and there. It started out with a stinking cold and a nasty cough whilst we were on holiday in Devon, soon followed tonsillitis… Hand, Foot & Mouth… conjunctivitis, flu. You name it I’ve had it.

For the past four months I’ve been in a constant cycle of contracting a bug, feeling awful, trying to battle on, starting to feel a little better, getting other associated ladies issues that happen when you’re run down, contracting another bug, trying to battle on… You get the idea…

I know things could be worse. I could be properly poorly. I could have something terminal or nasty and I should be grateful that I don’t. Maybe I shouldn’t moan. However, feeling consistently poop for four months kind of makes you grumpy and so I feel as though I am entitled to a good moan. At one point I actually thought about stomping into the doctors and demanding anti-biotics or anti-depressants such was my dissatisfaction at being ill a-fucking-gain!

Things came to a head on Sunday when we attempted a family trip to our local shopping centre. I dosed myself up on Cold and Flu tablets and cough mixture before we left, but still I struggled around the shops. I kept coughing. I kept sniffing. My nose streamed every time I bent forward (which with a toddler is often). I didn’t have the energy to try anything on. I was miserable. I was in a mood. I had to get out of there and get back home. I burst out crying and we headed home. I spent the majority of that afternoon asleep on the sofa feeling like a crap mum and a crap excuse of a human being. Extreme? Maybe, but four months of feeling crook can do that to a girl.

I’m trying to do everything I can to feel better. I’ve lost a lot of weight since being ill, so I’m trying to eat more (hence the scrambled eggs on toast), I’m taking Echinacea, a high dose of Vitamin C and pro-biotics. I’ve recently started on the Manuka honey too. I’m getting lots of sleep, fresh air. Not so much on the exercise front but that’s because I can’t stop coughing!

Then it dawned on me. When was the last time I took some time out for me. More than just a couple of hours (and a couple of hours where I invariably wind up doing housework)? Erm, probably June 2015 before Elliott made an appearance. There I was on maternity leave bored out of my mind but too big and bulbous to actually do anything. I remember people telling me to make the most of that time. I remember being glued to the sofa with a sleepy newborn and people telling me to enjoy that time. Now I understand. Having a toddler and being back at work and trying to juggle life is manic! And that’s why I requested leave, not just from work today, but also from life. I just need to be carefree me for a day and see if that helps…

My cappuccino cup is looking decidedly empty so I’m off to buy myself some flowers, head home and curl up with a cup of tea and the Kardashian’s for company.

When was the last time you took some time for you?

 

Surviving Hand, Foot & Mouth

Ah, the joys of childhood illnesses that you never knew existed until you had little ones.

Hand, Foot and Mouth disease? Isn’t that something that cattle get..? Turns out that’s something entirely different.

After consulting Dr Google I discover that HF&M is a viral infection which causes symptoms including: fever, a sore throat and a lack of desire to eat, as well as super nasty blisters. I also discovered that it mostly affects the under 10s and particularly the under 5s, so when Elliott was ish-diagnosed I thought I was safe. Ha, ha – more fool me and my crap immune system.

Here’s how we survived…

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Toddler

Let’s face it a 17-month-old toddler can’t tell you they’ve got a sore throat, so all I had to go on was the fact that Elliott was super-grumpy, warmer than usual (although not in fever territory), had red cheeks, was sleepier than normal, had a runny nose and was off his food – in fact he didn’t want anything in his mouth, which made administering Calpol an absolute mare! With these symptoms I assumed he was teething. Admittedly it did seem out of character for Elliott to be this poorly as a result of teething, but I just assumed a nasty big molar was the culprit.

I was still blatantly naive when Elliott’s first blister popped up on the bottom of his lower lip and just put it down to the fact that he had been using his dummy more – that was about the only thing he would allow in his mouth!

He was scream-the-house-down grumpy on Saturday, a little better on Sunday morning but still not himself, followed by scream-the-house-down the sequel on the evening and then just off-colour on Monday. On Tuesday I took him into nursery to discover there had been two cases of HF&M over the weekend. Even when I got the phone call from the nursery asking me to pick him up as they suspected he had HF&M I didn’t really believe it. There was a sore in his nappy now too, but it didn’t seem to be causing him any discomfort and from the photos I’d seen on Dr Google you got lots of blisters, right..?

A visit to the doctor concluded that Elliott had “a viral infection, probably Hand, Foot and Mouth if that’s going around at the moment…” – Thanks for the clarity there doctor, still, Elliott got two stickers, so at least he was happy. More blisters came out on Elliott’s hands over the following days, but nothing too major. Maybe we were fortunate that he had a pretty mild case? So for Elliott it was fluey/teething symptoms first and then once they had passed the blisters came. He still has a few blisters now but seems fine in himself and is demolishing his meals with gusto again so…

Mama

Shivers, a loss of appetite and feeling slightly nauseous were the first signs that something was wrong with me. At first I attributed this to rushing around and leaving a sauna of an office for the cool outdoors. Ah, I really am so naive aren’t I? Even as I sat there next to the radiator shivering whilst  wearing a dress, tights, a hoody and furry slippers I tried to persuade myself that I wasn’t ill. That evening I didn’t fancy dinner and instead decided to have a nap on the couch. I ended up there for most of the night in a slightly delirious feverish state.

The following day my symptoms were cold like – lethargy, a runny nose, a sore throat, a bit of a cough. I tried to rest as much as I could to ride out the storm. On the evening I noticed a prickly feeling on the inside of my lower lip with some small bumps – uh oh! By the end of the evening I had a full on blister to the side of my mouth, one on my lower lip and one on the bridge of my nose, with more and more popping up inside my mouth. Joy!

I woke up the next day looking like Lesley Ash post fillers but otherwise just feeling as if I had a bad cold. I worked from home but lacked energy and my mouth and throat were sore to swallow anything too coarse. Anything too sour or spicy made my tongue feel prickly, a bit like stinging nettles. The blisters spread so I had a few more on my face and also on my hands. These continued coming up the following day along with a strange painful feeling in my fingers or toes when I picked things up – it was as if I had tiny papercuts on my fingertips, which I didn’t – in fact I didn’t even have any blisters where the pain was – very strange.

Now my blisters are starting to heal – the biggest one near to my mouth has crusted over and looks gross, the others are slowly fading and my cold symptoms are getting better but still there. Today is day 4 of HF&M for me. The back of my mouth and my throat still feel a bit like they’re being attacked by stinging nettles when I eat though, which for someone who loves food isn’t much fun.

Time off nursery/work?

Toddler

Weirdly, one of the reasons the nursery wanted me to take Elliott to the doctors was to confirm that it was HF&M, because if it was he was OK to return to nursery. This goes against what it says on the NHS website, but what do I know? To be fair he was at his worst at the weekend, so by Wednesday he was fine to go back to nursery with his other HF&M buddies.

Mama

I took a day out of the office to work from home. 1. Because I didn’t want to infect my work colleagues 2. Because I looked like Lesley Ash post fillers and no one needed to see that 3. I had been so run down since the start of October that just pushing on through wasn’t going to work for me – I needed to slow things down a bit. Something I’ve been doing ever since that first blister appeared!

Treatment

There isn’t really a ‘treatment’ for HF&M exactly. No miracle cure. Elliott had Calpol and cuddles whilst I relied on cold and flu relief tablets and slapped some Zovirax on the biggest blister on my lip (NOTE: There’s some debate as to whether Zovirax is a suitable treatment for HF&M sores. But I was willing to give anything a try). Other than that it’s just a case of riding it out.

My other survival tips…

Have this Baby Sensory video on YouTube lined up for when your toddler hits meltdown mode.

Consider purchasing one of these dummies to administer Calpol if your toddler is struggling with the dosing stick because of their sore mouth.

Sometimes only In The Night Garden and cuddles on the sofa will do.

Keep your toddler and yourself hydrated.

Soft, cool food is where it’s at – think endless Fromage Frais.

Don’t plan anything exciting – if toddler has HF&M you may well be confined to the sofa newborn style for a while, if you have it you’re probably not going to want to go partying on a soft play playdate.

If you’ve got it you will want to keep your lips moisturised but might not want to get your blister germs into you usual lip balm – I purchased a tub of cheapo Vaseline to smother on and dispose of once my blisters are gone – likewise I avoided make-up whilst my blisters were at their worst to avoid contaminating my brushes and products. I also avoided using my Clarisonic, instead gently using a flannel and cleansing balm to gently clean my face.

Be kind to yourself – if you feel ill try to get a break and have a rest. It’s tough when you’re a working mum, or just a mum, or just a person in general these days – we’re all so busy but try to get some support with little one and leave anything that isn’t urgent.

Stock up on Kleenex Balsam for the inevitable runny nose!

Don’t worry you will make it through the other side 🙂 x

Bloody Nursery Germs!

Since the start of October I think I have felt well for approximately two days!

The remainder of those two months has been spent in a cold or flu induced haze, causing destruction to rainforests as I make my way through countless boxes of Kleenex and mainlining cold and flu tablets as if they’re Smarties. I even had a course of anti-biotics at one stage.

Sure, I’d heard the rumours. When your kid starts nursery they get ill and you get ill. Iller than you’ve been before. Ill all the time. Ill with things you never even knew existed pre-child. But with Elliott starting nursery in August I enjoyed a graceful bug free summer period with just the odd sniffle. Now Autumn is here (are we still calling it Autumn, or does the fact that I have to regularly de-ice the car in a morning mean we jump into Winter yet?) it’s bug central around here.

Hubby seems to be OK. Which is a good job. He is the only one keeping it together, doing nursery drops whilst I work from home and generally keeping the place running. To be fair, snotty bugs are my nemesis, whereas stomach bugs are hubbys. Elliott is working his way through the full range of cold and flu type bugs at the moment which hits me. But when it comes to good old D&V I’m well aware that it will be me flying solo.

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that Elliott was off-colour at the weekend,  which we attributed to teething. We now know it was the start of hand, foot and mouth. There are multiple cases at his nursery right now and as he seems to be on the mend, he kindly thought he would pass it onto me. I feel much better in myself now. On Tuesday night I was literally curled up on the sofa delirious with fever. I already had annual leave booked at work yesterday, but plans of starting my Christmas shopping were put on hold as I just concentrated on feeling human enough to make it to Elliott’s first parents evening. At this stage I still didn’t realise it was the dreaded HF&M. Unfortunately I still have cold symptoms, lips like Lesley Ash post fillers and some beautifully attractive blisters. I’m also royally pissed off at being ill again. I actually can’t remember what it feels like to be able to breathe through my nose! Adults don’t normally get HF&M, it’s usually a treat reserved for the under 10s, but I’m guessing my immune system is so low already from fighting all the other cold bugs and Tonsillitis (a childhood favourite of mine returning for an encore performance) that it just jumped right on in there and made itself at home. Sod off, virus – you are not welcome here!

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Just a few of my sexy blisters from Hand, Foot & Mouth

I really need to get my immunity sorted, starting with kicking this bug in the ass. Once that’s done I need to rebuild my immune system doing all the things I should be doing but either can’t or aren’t because I’m too busy being ill/trying to still turn up to work/be a good mummy/wife/friend/keep our apartment spick and span. Grr! It’s super frustrating. Between unscheduled nursery pick ups where I have to leave work early to take Elliott to the doctors and either being off ill or working from home I feel like such a crap employee. I’m so fortunate that my employers have been understanding but it still worries me that they will just see me as flakey. Then I also feel like a crap mum. Laying on the sofa in my PJs when I should be playing with Elliott. Staying in the warm rather than taking Elliott to the various groups we usually attend. Still wallowing in bed to try to sleep off the latest bug whilst Daddy whisks Elliott off to nursery. I also feel like a crap wife. I look like a mess most of the time, rely heavily on hubby to cook, clean and take care of childcare whilst I try to recover from the latest lurg and am generally just a grumpy cow as I sniff my way through my day-to-day life. I know things could be a lot worse. I could have a life threatening illness. I appreciate that. It doesn’t make the snot go away though unfortunately.

So, that’s me – snot city! Any other parents struggling with nursery germs? Any tips on boosting my immunity? Any tips for styling huge blistered lips? Sniff!