this is how we do it: WELLNESS

I started this post during my "this is how we do it" series in 2017, and am only just now finishing it! Carry on.

Obviously, ground rules first. I’m a registered nurse and I only just started vaccinating my kids. So there’s that.

I get a lot of questions about health and wellness because of my profession, and because of my family size. When one of of us comes down with something, we typically all follow suit at some point. It gives me that much more motivation to try and keep us all as healthy as possible. I know as soon as I publish this post, my family will contact some bizarre exotic virus. However, I’m writing it anyway, for two reasons. First, we were recently kicked out of our primary care office for being too healthy. Like, we did not use a single sick visit all year and were therefore going to be charged as new patients… even for the kids’ yearly physicals. Second, last winter was the first one without a single stomach bug in the house. After twelve straight months of no vomiting, I decided to start writing this post, most assuredly to seal my plague fate for this winter (it happened).

PREVENTION.

Like any good healthcare provider, I’m going to tell you to stay healthy so you don’t have to get healthy. In our family, that looks like one might expect. We exercise, we eat healthy at home, we drink a lot of water, and we try to sleep well at night. I carry disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and Lysol in my purse at all times. But my kids also bathe only once per week and eat off of the actual ground, too.

I take supplements every night; I do believe they help with immune support. My regimen currently consists of a probiotic and turmeric every night, with garlic and cranberry on occasion. I’ve noticed improvement in my gut, my skin, and my mood. My husband puts me on a short course of zinc whenever I feel I’m getting a cold, and the kids take a multivitamin when I remember to hand them out. In the winter, I keep an essential oil blend in a roller ball bottle with me at all times. It goes on the kids and myself most nights (feet and belly buttons and sometimes spines). We also take colloidal silver and elderberry syrup during episodes of the creeping crud.

A giant jug of hand sanitizer sit on the bathroom floor by the door, so even the little kids remember to clean their hands on the way out. I clean the bathrooms with bleach, and the doorknobs and light switches with Lysol, on the same day every week so I don’t forget.

TREATMENT.

When we’re sick, we start by trying to wait it out. My kids have never been to the doctor for symptoms of a common cold, stomach bug, etc. We figure that since typical viruses aren’t treatable anyway, what’s the point in spending all of that money to hear someone tell you to go home and wait it out? I also don’t treat fevers most of the time. Because a fever is the body’s natural response to a foreign invader, I’d rather get the whole battle over with as quickly as possible. The exceptions? I’ll medicate a fever to help my children rest for a short period of time, and I’d also medicate if a fever was getting really high really fast. I just caught myself doing that parent fib thing. The truth is a) it’s been years since I used a thermometer and b) new literature actually links febrile seizures to genetics and not a sudden temperature spike. Long story short, all of our family fevers have resolved with sleep and a good sweat session.

WHERE BEING CRUNCHY HELPS.

We swallow garlic cloves  whole and tape them into ears. We take shots of apple cider vinegar. My husband makes a drink that will knock a chest cold right outta here. Coconut oil is our lotion of choice. Essential oils really do work for us, when it comes to certain ailments. I’ve used them every which way possible, from drops in the bathtub to capsules to undiluted to a blend with a carrier. Generally, I believe that nature has a place in healthcare culture, even in the world of advanced medicine and technology. My wound care weapons of choice? Apinol for cuts/scrapes, and honey for open wounds that take time to heal.

WHERE BEING A NURSE HELPS.

I have to regularly remind myself that bacteria and viruses are very different processes, with different symptoms and different treatment protocols. Diarrhea is typically defined as several loose stools in twenty-four hours, not just one or two. Kids are typically much better nourished and hydrated than we think, and even adults can go a long time with very little to eat or drink. I never panic about oral intake as long as everyone is still making urine. A lot of rashes are a mystery to even the doctors, and tend to be self-limiting or treated easily at home. I try to avoid antibiotics for the little things, because I want them to work when it really counts. Even in my own practice, I’ve seen patients have to switch drugs mid-regimen, because of overuse.

I think that about sums it up. Oh, and if you want my prescription for lice or pink eye, hit me up! My mania has actually paid off toward a pretty effective protocol, if I do say so myself. Best wishes on a healthy household.