I’ve Been Sick. Plus: Things that Helped

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Not just any kind of sick either; I have some type of walking pneumonia that started as bronchitis. I haven’t had bronchitis since high school and I barely remember it. Let me tell you this is the WORST I’ve felt in a long time and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Let me back up to just before Christmas when I came down with what I assume was the flu.
I was sick on and off for about two weeks with congestion and chills, aches and fever; etc.

Then I started to feel better but I still had a cough. THE COUGH!!! This raspy, dry, wheezing cough. Fast forward to just after my birthday when the cough became so nagging and irritating I couldn’t take it anymore. I was also experiencing night sweats and chills. Now, I should probably mention here that I’m the type of person that hates going to the doctor and for most of my life that worked for me. HOWEVER, over the past year something has changed (probably getting older) and when the symptoms got worse I finally went to the doctor thinking surely I had pneumonia or something.

MY DIAGNOSIS

I initially went to the clinic about three weeks after first getting sick, and was diagnosed with bronchitis and told that it was viral and would need to run its course. I was given steroids, a breathing treatment, and an inhaler but no antibiotics. Unfortunately, my bronchitis did not run its course and a week later I was back at the clinic only to be told that it looked like I actually had pneumonia.

To be fair it is possible that my bronchitis turned into pneumonia because that’s something that CAN happen and I probably SHOULD have skipped the walk-in clinic and gone to my general practitioner in the first place but I wanted to get in quick because I still had to work! Ironically, the doctor pulled me out of work for a few days so I can recover. I also now am on two antibiotics and two cough medicines; one for at night and one during the day. I also got a steroid shot and another (stronger) breathing treatment.
By the end of the day, I was starting to feel better (THANK THE GOOD LORD) but the moral of the story is this:

  1. When in doubt, go to your general practitioner to get a clear diagnosis.
  2. Don’t assume it’s just a cold and sit on it for a month hoping it goes away on its own (hi, that’s me…nice to meet you).
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I’m still on the mend but thought I would share a few of the things that have helped me get through this.

WHAT EXACTLY IS BRONCHITIS VS PNEUMONIA?

I want to start off by saying that I am not a doctor and that I got this information from the paperwork provided to me at discharge. Essentially bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchial tubes which move air to your lungs. You get this nagging cough and mucus that can cause wheezing and shortness of breath. There are two types of bronchitis, chronic which is recurring and more serious, and acute which is more common and can last a few weeks. Doctors can treat your bronchitis differently and in some cases, it must run its course. For my treatment, the doctor gave me a breathing treatment, steroids, and an inhaler.

Pneumonia, on the other hand, is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs fill with fluid that causes coughing with phlegm or pus (I know, gross). It can be caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses. Pneumonia needs to be treated by a medical professional and the treatment depends on the severity of the illness. Full-blown pneumonia may require a hospital stay. Caught early, you can get away with treatment at home and the doctor will usually prescribe antibiotics and cough medicine. In addition, you need to get lots of rest. My doctor called this type of pneumonia “walking pneumonia” and this is fortunately what I had.

WHAT HAS HELPED

1. A HUMIDIFIER/DIFFUSER USING ESSENTIAL OILS LIKE EUCALYPTUS

A humidifier is a must and I also wanted to benefit from using some of my essential oils. At night I like to use a respiratory blend and during the day I like straight-up eucalyptus. Either way, it helps keep my airways open and the moist air helps loosen the stuff up in my lungs.

2. THE COMFY

This blanket sweatshirt is basically what I’ve lived in. It keeps me warm and cozy and it’s SO SOFT! I shared this little nugget on Instagram when I had burrowed myself in bed for the day.

3. LIP BALM

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You know how when you get sick your lips turn into giant crusty, crusts and start peeling and bleeding? This is my absolute favorite lip balm because it’s tinted the perfect rose color that matches my actual lip shade. It’s nice because it doesn’t have a flavor or scent and it is VERY soothing. I also have the plain one to wear to bed but for work and during the day I love to just slap this on and go.

4. GAIA BRONCHIAL WELLNESS TEA

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I grabbed this tea when I was first diagnosed with bronchitis and it is SO YUMMY! It has peppermint leaf, licorice root, English Plantain leaf, Star Anise, thyme, eucalyptus leaf, among other good stuff. It’s soothing and refreshing and the licorice root isn’t too overpowering so it’s nice any time of the day. It’s also caffeine-free which is important when you’re trying to overcome a respiratory illness.

I hope this post helps…Lord knows I’m READY to get on the mend. Anyway, I’d love to hear what you can’t live without when you’re sick. I’m in the market for a good heating pad so if you have any suggestions, let me know.

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