Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Don't get sick.. But if you did - read below...

One day a couple weeks ago when I got home, MJ told me a story. We usually tell each other “stories” about work when we get home (you know, the usual: what happened that day, what made us laugh, what made us want to rip our hair out, etc…). So that day he was telling me this intriguing story that sounded like it was going to have a very interesting ending… The story was about how he was eating pelmeni, which is a Russian dish, kind of like ravioli, but with meat filling, and as he was eating it, the filling kept falling out, over and over and over again… and he kept trying to get it, but the meat just kept falling off his fork. MJ tried so hard, but that meat just wouldn’t give in, so… (ready for the culmination of the story??)..MJ  just ended up eating it with a spoon!
“Wow, that is a very exciting story!” I said
“Well, this is the most interesting thing that happened to me today…”  MJ said. And then he added “I actually don’t even know what’s real and what’s fiction anymore, I’ve been watching “Homeland” for the last 12 hours”…
Did I mention that he’d been sick with the flu and hadn't been able to leave the house or even get off the bed?

If you would like to avoid having 10 minute conversations about eating ravioli with a spoon instead of a fork, you better stay away from the flu, which we all know has been pretty bad this year.

Here are the things that everyone know they should do to avoid getting sick, but sometimes we all forget how important it is to actually follow those simple lessons:
-get a flu shot
-wash your hands with soap as frequently, as possible. Mine are actually turning a weird red color from all the washing… So a note to self, use moisturizing lotion as frequently as you wash hands…
-Lots of vitamin C (Vitamin C supplements, or get it from your fruit, juices, etc.)
-Stay away from people who seem “suspicious”. And when I say suspicious, I mean sick.
-If someone in your household didn’t escape the flu, sanitize all the surfaces that are being used frequently. Also, don’t use the same dishes.  Isolate them to a single 'sick room'.
-Get plenty of rest. Try to go to bed earlier than normally.
-Drink plenty of fluids. Make it a point to drink more water than you normally do.  

When I was growing up, I remember my mom tried to stay and keep my sister and me away from the medications, if possible. I don't even know why I just used the past tense,  it's still the case these days too. My mom knows all kinds of home remedies for the cold. I think most of them really work, so if you feel adventurous, try them out.

Disclaimer: this is going to be a total "Normal read" for my fellow Russians, but probably for the rest it will be "Weird treatments extravaganza". In any case, I hope if you read you will find it either helpful or find it a nice useful insight into the Russian culture :)

  • For sore throat: gargling with salted water (1 tsp salt for 1 glass of water). Keep gargling little by little till you run out of water in the glass. If I get a sore throat I do it in the morning and in the evening. I swear it works!
  • For sore throat and cough: in a bowl pour boiling water over some chamomile. Breath in and inhale the "chamomile steam" while holding your head over the bowl and keeping a towel over your head and the bowl to prevent the steam from escaping. **Additional benefit: you get a nice little facial!
  • For stuffed nose: (I think this one is MJ's favorite... MJ's favorite to laugh at when I do it): You hard boil 2 eggs, take them out of the water, wait a bit till they cool down a bit (but just a bit, you want them hot), and hold them to the both sides of the top of your nose. It feels nice and as it warms you up, it loosens everything up in your nose (probably shouldn't get too graphic) and "unstuffs" it nicely.
  • For fever: drink lots of tea or just hot water with raspberry preserves in it. The preserves are rich with vitamin C, that's why it works. Of course, drinking a lot in general does wonders for fever too. MJ jokes that raspberry preserves is my family's answer to every kind of sickness, but of course his answer to everything is ginger juice... So not too far from raspberry preserves.
  • For common cold: soak your feet in hot, hot water with some dry mustard in there (for even more heat). I love it. It's my favorite!
  • For cough (the kind that comes from your lungs): to warm up the lungs, you apply "mustard plasters" to the front and back of your body in the area of your lungs. I don't even know if anyone knows what "mustard plasters" is, but basically it's these paper squares that are covered in dry mustard. Before you apply them to your body, you moisten them in hot water and really burn as they're working.

That's all I can think of... 

Stay healthy and dress warm!

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