My Recent Experience Getting Sick

On a recent weekend trip to a family wedding out West, which consisted of traveling 5 hours on a plane each way, drinking more alcohol than I normally would, eating out for every meal, staying up late, and in general having lots of good fun with my relatives, I ended up getting sick  with a cold once I got back home. 

 

We had a 5 hour flight back on Monday night, I was stuck in a middle seat next to a big guy  who did not know the armrest etiquette or didn’t care. We got home at 11pm. I was jet lagged,  so I couldn’t get to sleep, and I had to be back in the clinic at 9am the next morning. 

 

On Tuesday, I felt tired and lousy all day, I felt a tickle in my throat later in the day. 

 

Tuesday night I had a fever all night. I have learned to embrace fevers, so I just wrapped myself  up in the blanket and shivered and sweated it out through the night. I didn’t sleep much again  that night either. 

 

Wednesday I felt lousy and sick. I had to stay home from work. I had a very sore throat and was coughing. I used some whipped honey with cinnamon to soothe my sore throat. I had concert tickets for Amanda Marshall that night but I decided to stay home and rest. My wife made me some chicken noodle soup and I went to bed early.  

 

Thursday I woke up feeling much better. At this point I just had a cough.

 

Friday I felt better again and had most of my energy back, decided to do a proper weightlifting  workout, this felt really good, got my breathing up which helped clear my lungs and got my blood and lymphatics flowing.

 

Saturday/Sunday/Monday I felt really good,  back to all my normal activities including some wake-surfing. Only a lingering cough remaining. Tuesday, back to feeling 100%, sleeping great,  no more cough. 

 

Throughout the week, I took my regular daily supplements of vitamins and minerals in the morning which I will share, and at night I boosted my intake of Vitamin C, about 2 grams extra per day, as well as extra zinc (zinc citrate 100mg), and magnesium (magnesium citrate 1-2 grams) before bed. I also added some turmeric powder to tea and smoothies. To be  completely honest, I have no idea if any of these extra supplements helped or not, but I  thought that I would share as much detail as I can about my experience.  

 

These are the supplements I am currently taking. Baseline daily, and Boost daily because I am  still in the 4 week post-surgical phase after my own ceramic dental implant treatment.

 

So why am I telling you all of this?  

I didn’t always take this approach. When I was younger, I would constantly take something like Advil Cold & Sinus when I was sick so that I could feel better and continue to do my activities,  whether it was going to school or playing sports. I didn’t listen to the cues that my body was  giving me and I pushed through it. This would often result in me staying sick for several weeks,  having my cold progress to bronchitis or pneumonia, at which point I would go to see my doctor and be put on a course of antibiotics. I would get sick like this just about every year in  the fall, and of course I didn’t think much of it, I just thought it was normal. I see many people  around me in my life nowadays behaving in this same way. Over the last 10-15 years, I have studied and learned a significant amount about achieving optimal health, and I want to share what I have learned with those around me. 

 

This is how my attitude and mindset have changed around getting sick. 

 

I don’t blame someone else around me for ‘getting me sick.’ This accomplishes nothing  positive, and it puts us in a victim state of mind, where we are powerless and have no ability to  influence our health outcomes. Instead, I accept full responsibility for my actions that lead up to me getting run down, and ultimately becoming sick.  

 

I typically don’t go to a doctor, I don’t ‘take a test’ to find out what I have, and I do my best to  avoid taking any pharmaceutical products. Taking something like Tylenol to bring down a fever  works to reduce symptoms, but this is counterproductive, it prolongs the illness. Your  symptoms, ie. the fever, the sore throat, or the cough, are not the illness, rather, they are your  body’s natural healing responses to help you recover from the illness. They are precisely the  things that are going to make you better. Whenever I am experiencing symptoms, aka healing responses, I take them as messages from my body. In response to these messages, there are some behaviours that I can do to support and influence my body with the healing process. 

Examples of these are: 
(Symptom —> Supportive Behaviour) 
Sore Throat —>

Limit my food intake. If I have a sore throat I know that my body is dealing with something, and it is telling me not to put anything else in the system. Digestion is an  energetically demanding activity for our bodies, and when we need to heal, eating too much  additional food is counterproductive. If I’m not hungry, I don’t eat. Instead, I provide support to 

my body with vitamins, fluids and electrolytes (salt and minerals). If I am hungry, I have some soup or foods that are very easily digestible. If the sore throat is very uncomfortable, I use something natural like honey to soothe my throat, or make a tea with ginger, lemon, and honey.  

Low Energy, Feeling Lousy —>

If I’m sick and feeling this way I take this as a sign that my body  needs rest. I don’t try to do too much. I go to bed early, and I try to avoid the bright screens of  my electronic devices. Chicken noodle soup (bone broth or vegetable broth) to eat, otherwise I  try not to eat too much else.  

Fever —>

My body has decided to raise its temperature to a point where we can better deal with whatever it is we are dealing with. Nowadays, I actually welcome a fever with open arms, because I know that this massive response from my body will ultimately, over the next few days, result in me feeling much better than I had been feeling. During a fever, if I feel cold, I put on a sweater or a blanket. If I feel hot, I remove layers. Fluids and electrolytes can be beneficial  here as well.  

Cough —>

There is something in my lungs or respiratory tract that my body is trying to get out.  This could be excess mucus, or maybe something toxic that I was breathing. The point is that  the act of coughing forcibly agitates the respiratory system to loosen up debris and bring it out.  If I am bringing up mucus with my cough, I try to spit it out and dispose of it in a polite manner,  rather than swallowing it and re-ingesting whatever it is that I coughed up. I try not to take  anything to suppress the cough, but if I am working closely around other people, which I do in my career as a dentist, I will use a throat lozenge like a Riccola so that I am not coughing in  someones face.  

 

As you can see, instead of trying to suppress symptoms, I pay attention to them. Recognizing  that the symptoms are my body’s natural healing mechanisms, I do what I can to support my body as it is healing. I believe that we must be very cautious when it comes to suppressing  systems. If we choose to do so, it should be done with the knowledge and acceptance of the possibility that the suppression of symptoms in the short term can have negative  consequences in the long term. If we block our body’s natural detoxification pathways to deal  with mild sicknesses, we increase the likelihood that we may experience worse chronic  illnesses down the road.  

 

Like always, it is crucial to pursue good general health, throughout our lives, if we want to be able to heal from any illnesses we encounter with relative ease. The best way to do this is to eat a healthy and nutritionally appropriate diet, limit exposure to toxins in our environment, and live a lifestyle that is conducive to optimal health. For more information on these things, check  out my article that I wrote on these topics here. 

 

Happy Healing, 

 

-Dr. J