Disclaimer: I would like to begin by clearly stating that I am not a doctor. If you believe you may have Glandular Fever, or are feeling unwell at all, please visit your local GP for advice.
I have been LOVING the 2016 Rio Olympics this past week! As an Australian I am always incredibly proud of our athletes just for making it to the games – let alone qualifying for a medal. Congratulations all round to our athletes – not just the Aussies – for their incredible work and effort. Simply inspiring!
However, I would like to single out two athletes in particular who I could not be more impressed with.
Read the links above to hear more of these athletes inspiring stories.
These two men have faced adversity and illness in the form of the dreaded Glandular Fever, yet have both pushed through and succeeded at the Rio games. As someone who is still recovering from a bout of Glandular Fever from over a year ago, their success is simply inspiring!
My experience with Glandular Fever began with a series of sinus and chest infections for which I stubbornly refused to take anti-biotics. This, along with a surprising new iron deficiency, opened my immune system up to all kinds of viruses; including Epstein-Barr (Glandular Fever).
At the time, I thought Glandular Fever was like a cold and would go away after a few days. I contacted my university, told them I’d be sick for the week, and settled into a state of blissful ignorance. Luckily, my GP provided me with a reality check, and outright told me that I would have to drop out of University for the rest of the semester.
Now, as a dedicated student studying Engineering and Physics, this news did not go down particularly well. Luckily (or unluckily), I quickly began to feel so sick that I no longer cared. I not only had Glandular Fever, I also managed to get acute viral hepatitis and the worst case of tonsillitis you can imagine. But, from what I’ve heard, it could have been much worse and I consider myself lucky.
What follows is a breakdown of Glandular Fever, and some helpful tricks to (hopefully) make your experience with Glandular Fever a little more bearable.
Stage 1: Diagnosis:
It’s official! The blood work is in, your GP confirms it – you have the Epstein-Barr Virus. Set aside some time to feel sorry for yourself (limit the wallowing to about an hour) then try and find a silver lining. I’m a big believer in finding the positives of a bad situation.
For me (and I didn’t realise this until much later) the silver lining was that getting sick made me far more aware of my anxiety and gave me time to really think about who I was and what I wanted for my future. I suppose everything really does happen for a reason.
Stage 2: Preparation:
Whatever commitments you may have (work, high school, university), put them on hold as best you can. Remember, you and your health are the most important things right now.
- Soft foods (Soup, jelly, ice cream, yoghurt, eggs (scrambled), potatoes (mashed), baby food)
- Pineapple Juice (natural anti-inflammatory)
- BULK tissues
- BULK disinfectant (eg. Dettol, hand sanitiser, Glen 20)
- Steam Inhaler ($30 at your local pharmacy – boil water and inhale the steam to loosen phlegm, be careful not to burn yourself.)
- Disposable plates, cups and cutlery (No-one wants to share your germs, but more importantly you don’t want to share theirs – your immune system probably can’t take it.)
Prepare a Nest:
You will not be moving for a while; get comfortable. I recommend a mountain of pillows on your most comfortable lounge in front of the television.
Have some of your favourite movies and TV shows lined up. Stick with familiar and comfortable viewing. I chose Seinfeld, Frasier, Community and a series of terrible disaster movies – perhaps it was the fever, but Sharknado was 10x better the second time!
Also, eat as much food as you can while you can, you might be limited to liquids in a few days.
Stage 3: The Sickness:
You feel absolutely awful. Stay strong, you will get better.
- Stay hydrated. Frozen slushies made from Gatorade, hydrolyte or pineapple juice feel good on the throat.
- Eat what you can, if you can. Soft foods only, and preferably as natural as possible.
- Go for tiny little walks during the day. I’m talking walk around the room then lie back down. Don’t attempt a marathon.
- Sleep. If your body is telling you to sleep, just do it!
- Shower daily. I found steaming hot showers a few times during the day very soothing.
- Take your pills. This was the worst part for me – swallowing those pills was agony, but you have to do it.
Stage 4: Recovery:
Arguably the longest, and most important stage. Your body is malnourished, exhausted and vulnerable. Your immune system is probably weeping uncontrollably in the corner, now is the time to take care of yourself.
- Eat well. Whole, organic foods are best. TIP: Ginger is good for the immune system.
- Exercise. Take it VERY slowly. Start with little walks and build up gradually.
- Prioritize your Immune Health. Avoid sick people – not easy to do, I know. Wash your hands, use hand sanitiser and stick with the plastic crockery for a little while. See your doctor about immune boosting tablets.
- Sleep as much as you need. Chronic Fatigue is very possible if you don’t take care of yourself now. Don’t try and stay awake or get back into a normal sleeping rhythm. For now, just sleep.
- Be patient. You won’t get back to normal overnight. It has taken me more than a year to completely get over the fatigue. For some that’s shorter, and for others it’s longer. Don’t pressure yourself to get better quickly, because it is a slow process.
I hope this was informative and helpful. If I manage to help just one person get through Glandular Fever, then I will have succeeded. Please contact me or leave a message below if you would like to share your story. And I hope you are feeling better very soon!
Below are a few GF Blogs and resources which I read while I was sick that I found very positive and inspiring.