It’s bound to happen eventually. You are going along, minding your own business, living as healthfully as you can, and that nasty bug bites you, leaving you miserable or totally bed-ridden with chores and other homestead responsibilities still having to be done. Oh, what to do?!
Well, first, having a family and good friends helps. Most people can make do helping out until you are well enough to take back the reigns. Sometimes you may not even need any help, just miserably do what you have to do. The important thing is to allow yourself to rest and do no more than you have to. Many times illness can be fought off by healthy bodies, a few viruses and germs aside, so when you do end up very ill it is often a sign that your body needs either rest or better nutrition. As homesteaders, we tend to over-extend ourselves, often doing the work of 2 or 3 people. Also, if we have children, they are bound to share everything they can with you, and many of us unconsciously contract germs from our kids by sharing food or drink with our kids or giving them hugs and kisses when they feel bad.
For many today, the first inclination at the first sign of illness is to run to the doctor for a quick remedy or medicine to cover symptoms. Homesteaders may resort to this as well when we feel like we just can’t stop and rest, but it’s not necessarily the best option. Most illnesses will clear up on their own with good diet and rest, and often medicines that cover over symptoms will cause you to remain sick longer or develop secondary infections of the sinuses and lungs. Of course, I truly believe a doctor is needed when you just can’t seem to get better or symptoms are dangerous to your health, so use good judgment.
Here are some things you can do at home to make yourself feel better and rest easier.
- First, get hold of some good homemade broth and drink as much as you can as frequently as possible. It will often soothe sore throats and loosen mucus.
- Drink herbal teas with a little honey or lemon in them. They soothe sore throats and the heat can inhibit bacterial growth, as does the honey and lemon. Teas with herbal medicines such as Echinacea should be used with caution as they are medicines and you can get too much, especially children!
- A hot, steamy shower can help open up airways and make you feel better, as can draping a cloth over your head and leaning over a bowl of steaming water with a little eucalyptus oil added.
- Sleep really helps you heal, so get as much as possible.
- Drink plenty of fluids. If you are drinking teas and broth, this shouldn’t be too hard. Avoid artificial soda’s and sugar. Keifer and kombusha may actually help you heal by giving your body vitamins, and naturally carbonated beverages may help soothe a sore throat.
- If you feel up to it, take an easy, short walk every so often. It helps mentally, and fresh air is good for you!
We don’t use a doctor often, and it’s hard not to take the easy way out and cover symptoms, but I find it to be better in the long run most times. We do use over-the-counter medicines on occasion for excessively high fever or major pain, but we keep it at a minimum and a last resort. I also make some of my own medicines from vodka and herbs/berries such as Elderberry Cordial for coughs. Use with discretion and under advisement by a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner!