Sunday, July 31, 2011

Teach's winter hazards

Teaching at a school on a Thursday and Friday of every week, sees me exposed to every child's latest illness. Touching computer keyboards and mouses means that, in Winter, I am usually felled by a cold or flu at least three times a year. This latest weekend has seen me succumb yet again to a nasty cold. I had hoped I was immunized for the rest of this season by the last intense bout at the beginning of the Winter school holidays. I find it to be such a waste of time. It takes me at least five days to shake it off and then, its time for school again.

I have discovered that the secret to lessening the intensity of a  cold or flu bout is to recognize the first indications (tickle in the throat) and then to bombard myself with 1000 mg of Vitamin C three times a day, drink lots of water and gargle with something effective, as often as possible. Salt water works, and I recently discovered Orochlor too. These precautions do not necessarily keep the illness at bay, but certainly lessen the impact. However, I often slip up and don't have the right goodies in stock.

For me, colds and flu seem to follow a set pattern: Day 1: Sore throat, Day 2: Streaming nose, Day 3: Blocked nose, Day 4: Revolting yellow mucous, Day 5: Coughing endlessly. I have a strategy for Day 2 and Day 4 to avoid my most dreaded outcome, an infection in the chest or ears: I stay awake the entire night, sniffing, blowing, coughing, to avoid lying flat and allowing it to all settle in while I sleep. This is accompanied with plenty of post-midnight dashes to the kitchen to make instant Chicken Noodle soup, hot lemon and honey drinks, while poor hubby desperately tries to get some sleep. On day 5 when the coughing kicks in, its a search for something to quell that never ending tickle. I never seem to have cough mixture in the house. On this occasion, I have stewed Star Anise in hot water and used it in combination with honey and lemon to sip at each scratchy moment. I made a homemade cough mixture years ago and surprisingly, it didn't taste bad at all. The problem is, when you are feeling lousy, you don't feel up to being your own pharmacist.

3 whole garlic bulbs, all the cloves peeled
2 and 1/2 coffee cups of water
1 and  1/2 coffee cups of cider vinegar
1/2 coffee cup of honey (or sugar if you don't have honey)

Chop the peeled garlic cloves and simmer in the water until the liquid is reduced by half (takes a while). 

Remove the garlic by straining through a sieve and put it to one side. To the hot water, add the other ingredients and boil it until its like a syrup (takes a while). Place the garlic bits that you set aside into a bottle or container and then pour  the syrup over them. One dessert spoon of mixture, including the pieces of garlic, to be taken when needed.

As hubby has also succumbed to the virus now, I have made up this mixture but, because it is the end of winter, I  halved the quantities. 


  1. I've been hit twice this winter - not nice. Both ended in bronchitis - must try your staying up trick :)

    Feel better.

  2. Thanks. At least its a beaut day today. The cold feet of the last few days sure didn't help my plight.

    Do you think my homemade cough mixture would "keep" for 6 months if I kept it in the fridge? The vinegar and sugar would preserve the garlic? I think I must experiment next winter.