Staying Healthy This Fall and Beyond!

Fall and Winter are the prime time for illnesses to go around, especially the flu. While the flu shot isn’t effective against all strains of influenza, it does help to keep those to receive it safely again many strains.

Most insurance companies offer no or low-cost flu shots, but if you are uninsured and facing financial difficulties, even $20 for a flu shot can be out of reach. Thankfully there are organizations and resources to help keep you healthy and safe.

If you are in San Diego County, Champions for Health offers free Flu shots, PCV13 shots for those over 65, and Tdap shots for those between the ages of 10-64. They have opportunities all over San Diego County throughout the fall.

If you or your children are in need of vaccinations (flu and beyond) but are without insurance, the san Diego County Health and Human Services Agency offers no-cost vaccines. More information can be found here.

In addition to vaccines, there are a lot of other ways you can stay healthy this fall and winter. Most of us are already doing them!

  • Wash your hands frequently- use soap and water and scrub for at least 20-30 seconds.
  • Try not to touch your face.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when your sneeze (either with a tissue or cough or sneeze into your elbow).
  • Use hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands with soap and water.
  • If you are wearing re-usable/cloth masks, make sure to wash and dry them frequently. Disposable masks should be used once and thrown away. Please remember to clip the elastic ear loops before throwing the mask away- animals can get caught up in the loops.
  • Avoid sick people, and if you aren’t feeling well yourself, do not go out in public.
  • Eat well, include lots of vitamin and mineral rich foods.
  • Stay Hydrated. This is my favorite water bottle.

Simple Things You Can Do To Make Your Stay Indoors Easier

file9831347376219.jpgA lot of people are posting about stocking up on essentials, or ways to make your own hand sanitizer in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.

I don’t want to freak out or spread any misinformation, so instead, I’m going to focus on how you can get your home ready in case you have to quarantine, either because of illness/exposure or because of a government mandate.

What can you do to prepare your home?

Make sure that you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet. I don’t mean a years supply, maybe just enough to get you through an illness (like you would buy if someone in your home came down with a cold or cough), or in the case of #4, enough menstruation supplies for 1 period (most of us with periods have that in our homes anyway).

  1. Enough of your daily prescription meds for 14+ days.
  2. Pain relievers- Tylenol, Motrin, Advil.
  3. Cold /cough remedies- Sudafed, Mucinex, cough syrup. Don’t forget to have kid versions too!
  4. Menstruation supplies- Pads, Tampons, Cups, period panties.
  5. Any other OTC meds that you and your family use regularly.

Food– This is a tough one because each family is different. I recommend doing a pantry, fridge, and freezer inventory and make notes on what you have. I’d pick up a few extra things that are “must-haves” in your home. For us, that’s bagels and cream cheese. Bread products can be frozen, so I tossed a few extras in the freezer, as well a few extra quarts of milk.

I also picked up some of the shelf-stable milk quarts, like these. They are great for camping, as they don’t have to be refrigerated until after they are opened. They are also great for cooking.  I have also picked up some pantry staples so that we can have homemade baked goods (it gives us an activity and food!).

If you are worried about not having enough food because your budget doesn’t allow for an extra stock-up trip to the grocery store, there are food resources to help you. Check out this page for San Diego County food resources. If you are in Northern SD County, there is a list here. If you live outside San Diego County, but within the US, call 211 for assistance.

Cleaning Supplies-I cleaned out under our kitchen sink and organized all of the cleaning supplies- and I also have been cleaning the house. It was originally because we were hosting a birthday party, but, now it will be nice to have a clean house in case we are stuck inside.

A few of the cleaning supplies that are good to have on hand include:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia (but never mix it with bleach or any other cleaning chemical)
  • Pine-Sol or Fabuloso
  • Spray bottles for bleach/water mixtures, Ammonia/water mixtures
  • sponges
  • Magic Erasers
  • Paper towels
  • baking soda or Comet/Ajax (to scrub sinks/toilets/bathtubs)
  • White vinegar
  • Oxi-Clean
  • Laundry Soap
  • Laundry stain pre-treater

These are what we keep on hand all the time. I am pretty old school. I use ammonia as a degreaser to clean the stovetop, range hood, and mop the kitchen floor.

Something to do- I think this is something that most of us are forgetting about. Without school, work, the gym, clubs, or other outside activities, Netflix is going to get really boring really fast.

I did a craft supply reorganization yesterday and pulled together stuff for a bunch of different crafts the kids can do. If you have crafty kids, but not a lot of craft supplies, a quick trip to Dollar Tree with $20 can hook you up with a decent selection of supplies. If you don’t have a chance to go, Dollar Tree has “Pick and Pack” service. They have some craft supplies that would be great- canvases, construction paper, glue sticks, etc.

I will be finishing up the basket of UFO (Unfinished Outlying Projects) sewing, and probably start on a few new things that I’ve been planning (like curtains). I’ve got plenty of fabric and thread. No trip to the store will be needed.

We’ll be hitting up the library today or tomorrow for some books for the kids. But we’ve also got Epic on the iPads, and well as some other educational apps (I’ll be posting a list of free apps later today).

I went through all of our games and pulled out some newer ones that the kids haven’t played, or haven’t played in a while. I foresee lots of family game time.

Some government officials and municipalities are telling people to keep a 6-foot distance from others and no handshakes/hugs. That’s is great to control the spread of illness, but I can’t keep my kids inside all the time. Which is why we’ll be playing in our outdoor space/patio, and the green area outside our home, while carefully avoiding others. I may also take them hiking- many of the trails that we frequent are not heavily used. It is rare that we see other people. The fresh air will do them good. If you have a yard, send your kids outside to play or read outside. We want to avoid others to contain the spread of disease.

file801244167702.jpgAnd my final bit of advice: WASH YOUR HANDS FOR AT LEAST 20 SECONDS OF SCRUBBING. Use soap. Dry your hands with a paper towel. Use hand sanitizer as needed, but it is not a substitute for handwashing. Try not to touch your face (This is super hard, I know). 

Please be safe!

 

 

Keeping Sickness at Bay & $5 off Mucinex Coupon!

I haven’t been posting a lot of coupons lately. Either they are low value, or they aren’t for products that I think y’all would like. But, check out what popped up in my inbox this morning: Mucinex $5 OFF Coupon here.

A lot of people are battling the winter ickiness, and that includes mucus (eww). When you join Mucus Fighters Plus, Mucinex® will email you an exclusive $5 coupon and other special offers, plus tips for putting mucus in its place.

Here are a few tips to keep sickness at bay:

  1. Wash your paws! Seriously. Soap, warm water, 30 seconds of vigorous rubbing, rinse, dry. Sing Happy Birthday or count to time yourself.
  2. Throw away your used paper towels, used tissues, and put dirty dishes that have come into contact with your mouth into the sink. Don’t leave your germs around to share. In this case, sharing isn’t caring.
  3. If someone in your home is sick, wipe down surfaces they touch one a day (or more frequently). We use Clorox wipes. you can also use Lysol Spray.
  4. Change out your toothbrush! Bacteria can live on your toothbrush. Change it out once you are feeling better.
  5. If you don’t feel well, it’s ok to take it easy. Skip non-essential obligations. Your friends and family will thank you for not spreading illness.
  6. To piggyback on #5- REST. It helps you get well faster. Sleep. Take a shower. Read a book. Have a low key movie night with the kids and serve a dinner of snacks on a blanket in the living room.

Talkback: What are your tips to recovering from the winter sickies?

Illness and My Birthday…

file0001442071545 The worst part of being sick as a mom to small kids is that there is seldom time to rest, which means the illness lingers. Additionally, the likelihood that you got the illness from one of those small people is pretty great.

I’ve been battling a plague for over a week. That means, yes, I spent my birthday coughing and blowing my nose…sexy, no?

Overall, it was a great day. Lil’ Man drew me a book. He was going to make me a card, but he wanted to make me something I’d keep forever, so he made a book with pictures of reptiles. He drew most of them himself, and only used stickers from his reptile sticker book a few times. It’s very sweet.  Hubs got me a new FitBit!

The kids and I spent each day after school last week collecting birthday freebies, you can see my list of the goods here and here. We sprinkled it in with trips to the park (where I sat on a bench and coughed) or other errands. Lil’ Man’s overall favorite is the mini bundt from Nothing Bundt Cake. My fav is free lunch at Rubio’s.

Other than than, I’ve been going to bed early and napping during the day while Bitty sleeps, which is the reason there haven’t been any posts in a week. Now that I’m about 75% better, there should be more posts coming, including some fun DIY posts coming up about making infused oils (it’s never too early to start thinking about holiday gifts!).

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I posted a photo of some floral print fabric the other day. I am the costume designer for a local theatre’s production of the stage adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird. That’s right, before I blogged about frugal living and clipping coupons, I designed and made costumes for theatres, movies, renaissance faires, LARP’s, and historical recreationists.

So now you know what I’ve been up to.. What’s going on with you?

Update: where have I been?

I'm looking stylish in my mask and hospital gown, right?
I’m looking stylish in my mask and hospital gown, right?

You may have been wondering where I’ve been. I haven’t been updating the blog a lot and I definitely haven’t been doing a lot of Facebook posts lately.

I’ve been sick. It all started back in the middle of December when I started not feeling well I had a cough and a slight fever and I was just feeling very run down. I just chalked it  up to being the holidays and getting the same ick and everybody else had.

When I called the doctors office to talk to the nurse practitioner she said that it was probably either just the virus that was going around or had a cold and not to bother wasting my $40 co-pay to come in to be told I have a cold. I appreciated that and took the list of OTC meds she suggested I take to Target and shopped.

Fast forward to the end of February and I can’t go five or ten minutes without coughing or hacking. I continued the take the OTC meds the NP suggested and just resigned myself to the fact that it was going to take 12+ weeks to recover like she said. After getting little over 3 hours of sleep Saturday night, I called the 24 hour nurses line on Sunday. I had reached my breaking point. I needed help. I went over my symptoms and confessed to the nurse on duty that I thought I might have a slight case of pertussis since I do have children and we go to the park a lot where there are all kinds of germy kiddos!

I have had the pertussis vaccination as a child and all the boosters that are supposed to be administered while you’re pregnant also. She said that she didn’t think I had pertussis because I wasn’t having the “whoop” in my cough (hence the name whooping cough), but she would have someone from my PCPs office call me on Monday. I asked her if she thought I should go to urgent care and she said no because urgent care is only for people who are sick. This made me a little upset as you probably can guess. Because I haven’t had more than three hours (tops) of sleep since Christmas and my voice is so hoarse from coughing but I can’t talk above a whisper most of the time.

After talking it over with my husband I went to urgent care where after having a doctor poke and prod at my glands, look down my throat, listen to me breathe, cough, and have a set of  chest x-rays he said I’m going to give you a pertussis swab (If you’ve never had one it’s where they take a swab flexible wire and stick it up your nose really far. It does not feel good).

So here I am two days later waiting for the results of my pertussis test. I should get a phone call one where the other tomorrow or perhaps Thursday. In the meantime I’ve been given a prescription for an inhaler, oral steroids, and lovely little tussin pearls. I feel 1000% better than I did before. It could be that I’ve actually slept and I can take a deep breath without coughing incessantly for five minutes.

And I did a lot of research myself before coming to the conclusion that I should probably be tested for pertussis or even say those words to the nurse at the after hours line or the doctor at the urgent care. I looked at the CDC website and some medical journals online, I talked to adults actually had pertussis.  They too had received the initial vaccination and appropriate boosters as indicated by medical professionals.

So why am I telling you all of this? Because you are your only medical advocate. If you don’t feel good and the doctors, nurses, and medical practitioners that you were speaking to you don’t take your concerns seriously or they brush you off as a hypochondriac or just someone who has a school-age child and you’re going through the back to school yucky that everybody gets, keep talking to to medical professionals until you find someone that will listen to you.

If I have pressed forward and demanded for an appointment when I called the nurse the first time I told her of the symptoms I was having, I probably would’ve been seen.  They would’ve tested me for everything I requested it, and I would’ve taken medication and been much better right now.

You are your child’s primary advocate also! If your kiddo ins’t feeling well and their ped gives you a brush off, get a second opinion!  I feel fortunate that my children have a wonderful pediatrician who listens to my concerns and answers all of my seemingly odd questions. She spent more time with me yesterday than any doctor have the entire time I have been seeing a doctor.  She answered all of my questions about my children’s health and my health too.  She even checked my medical record to see if the test results back for my pertussis test, which they had not. She seemed genuinely concerned that the petitioner and my PCPs office did not want to see me when I voiced a concern but I might have bronchitis or whooping cough because I have an infant in the house.

So now that I’m feeling better, you’ll be seeing your posts for me. I have a lot of awesome stuff to share with you guys about programs coming up that I’m being a part of, hopefully I’ll have some to give away supposed to say, I’m back at it.

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 5.02.02 PMIn fact the rough draft of this post was dictated to my iPhone warded six loads of laundry this afternoon. All the while wearing Margaret in the Tula. I have a lot of awesome stuff to share with you guys about programs coming up that I’m being a part of, hopefully I’ll have a giveaway coming uptoo!

I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to be on the mend and help more awesome content for you guys coming up for fun crafts you can do with the kids! Thank you for all the emails Private messages on Facebook. It means a lot to me that you guys reach out to me to find out how I’m doing. I really appreciate it.