The Daily Quote: Sick

sick-day-lolcats

Sick

by Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay,
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash, and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut, my eyes are blue–
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke–
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb,
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is–what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is—Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

Today is the first day back at my job after a five day Thanksgiving weekend. Today every one is “sick,” and I am the school Nurse. Granted, some of the children I am seeing are genuinely ill; hiding diarrhea accidents beneath jackets tied around their waists, or green-faced with nausea, or sweaty, pale, & coughing up buckets of mucus.

Mostly, though, everyone is “sick.” I like to call it “I-can’t-itis.” Sometimes it’s more aptly named, “I-have-a-report-due-today-itis,” or a severe case of “Monday.”

I see it every Monday, especially after a long weekend, & fondly recall this poem by Shel Silverstein. Here’s to hoping everyone’s better by Saturday.

Make it a great week. 🙂

The Daily Quote: Snort, Sniffle, Sneeze…No Antibiotics, Please!

It’s that time again – cold & flu season!

As a school nurse, I treat a variety of illnesses & injuries on a daily basis. My door has been a turnstile of ick, sick, & yuck lately. Seasonal allergies, indoor allergies, & cold & flu viruses are rearing their ugly heads…all at once!

My students (and teachers) are miserable. And to tell you the truth…so am I. Sneezing. Sniffling. Runny noses, sinus pressure & headaches, ear aches, coughing, mucus, wheezing, rumbly tummies, chills & fevers, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea…the list goes on.

One important fact remains…

Any and/or ALL of these symptoms can be caused by viruses. Why is that so important?

Because antibiotics do NOT work on viruses.

slapping-batman-virus-meme

Examples of illnesses caused by viruses are:

  • Influenza (the flu)
  • Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  • RSV
  • Croup
  • Chickenpox
  • Most rashes
  • Many coughs

Antibiotics do not kill viruses. Treating these illnesses with antibiotics is ineffective & leads to antibiotic resistance. Some viruses, like the flu, pneumonia, & chickenpox can be prevented by getting vaccines.

Some illnesses that do require antibiotic treatment include:

  • Strep throat
  • Pneumonia
  • Many ear infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sinus infections

How do we treat viruses, if we can’t kill them with antibiotics???

We treat the symptoms while the virus runs its course.

  • Rest – your body may need extra sleep and/or naps while it is fighting an infection.
  • Hydrate – drink plenty of fluids (non-sugary/non-caffeinated).
  • Treat fever, pain, and/or inflammation – Medications like Ibuprofen can treat all 3 of these symptoms. Read packaging & instructions carefully, as some over the counter medications contain more than one medicine.
  • Treat cough & mucus – a different cough medicine should be used for productive cough, to help clear mucus from the airways. A cool-mist humidifier will also help keep mucus thin & soothe irritated nasal passages & throat.

Click here for different types of cough medications & when to use what

  • Treat nausea/vomiting/diarrhea – Replenish electrolytes with Pedialyte or a similar electrolyte solution. Drink water & other clear liquids. Eat light until your stomach feels right. 
  • For the flu, your doctor may recommend you start taking Tamiflu as a treatment, to possibly lessen symptoms & shorten the course of the virus.
  • Non-medicinal treatments – There are a variety of ways to alleviate symptoms that involve no medication at all.
    • Warm compresses – for ear pain, stiff neck, head ache, & body aches
    • Warm soak – for body aches
    • Salt water gargle – for sore throat
    • Ginger root tea (honey optional) – for sore throat, cold, flu, & inflammation
    • Turmeric milk tea – calming, creamy, warm drink, thought to be effective in treating cold & flu symptoms. Turmeric & the flu.

 

Here’s a cute video released by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) just for fun: