Mothers never get a sick day. When you are the primary caretaker of the kids and household there is usually no one to step in so you can rest. When a mom does not get enough rest, she takes longer to recuperate. What is a mom supposed to do? Most of us keep momming no matter what! These hacks are a lifesaver when sick.
1. Take advantage of having groceries delivered. I know it can be expensive but most stores offer free delivery for the first order. Or a discount on delivery if you buy certain items. Some stores offer pick up service as well if you can drive.
Order plenty of orange juice and chicken soup for you. I order a few varieties of chicken soup to make that millionth bowl of soup less boring. Green tea with lemon and honey is a great option. Electrolyte water is another item I would consider stocking up on.
Order launchable’s, uncrustables, and plenty of convenience foods for the kids. Honestly, you need to stay off your feet as much as possible. A few days of eating these types of foods are ok. Most stores sell sliced fruits and veggies. Order those as well so the kids are getting their fruits and veggies.
Order enough tissues. I buy Lysol, Alcohol prep pads, Vitamin E softgels or rosehip oil, and nipple cream for breastfeeding. More on that in tip number two.
2. A runny nose can become red and raw fast. No matter what you put on it when you blow your nose it will come off. This is why I pierce a vitamin E soft gel and apply that to my nose. I then top it with nipple cream for breastfeeding moms. Lotions and oils transfer to tissue but nipple cream made of lanolin will stay on longer. Rosehip oil can soothe your nose too. The healing process after your nose stops running is much faster too.
3. Alcohol Prep pads are amazing for disinfecting items as you use them. Germs can live up to 24 hours. To prevent the spread of germs, I keep prep pads on hand to clean items after I use them to kill germs.
4. Skip cleaning. If you must spot clean only. Honestly, we clean and the next day the messes come back. Rest will not be detrimental. Consider asking children two and up to help. Small kids can put toys away. In fact most toddlers love to help. It never hurts to ask.
5. Make the days lazy ones. If the kids do not have school declare that no one needs to get dressed. This makes less laundry to do later. A Netflix marathon with the kids can allow you to rest. Make sure you have space so you do not spread germs to the kids.
“Everyone knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world,” observes Albert Camus in his novel The Plague. “Yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet plagues and wars always take people by surprise.”
Camus was imagining a fictional outbreak of plague in 1948 in Oran, a port city in northwest Algeria. But at a time when the world is reeling from a very real microbial emergency sparked by the emergence of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, central China, his observations are as pertinent as ever.
Like the global emergency over Zika in 2015, or the emergency over the devastating West African Ebola outbreak the year before – or the global panic sparked by SARS (another coronavirus) in 2002-2003, the Wuhan coronavirus epidemic has once again wrong-footed medical experts and taken the world by surprise.
Whether the Wuhan outbreak turns out to be a mild pandemic like the 2009 swine flu, or a more severe one like the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed 50 million people worldwide, at present no one can say.
But if a century of pandemic responses has taught us anything, it is that while we may have gotten better at monitoring pandemic threats in what used to be called the “blank spaces” on the map, we also have a tendency to forget the lessons of medical history.
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The first of these is that epidemics of emerging infectious diseases appear to be accelerating. In the 19th century it took several years for cholera and plague to spread from their endemic centers in India and China to Europe and North America following the trade routes plied by caravans, horses and sail ships.
That all changed with the advent of steam travel and the expansion of the European railway network. For instance, it was a steam ship, sailing from Japan via Honolulu, that most likely brought rats infected with plague to San Francisco in 1900. And ten years earlier, it was steam trains that spread the so-called “Russian” influenza throughout Europe. The result was that within four months of the first report of an outbreak in St Petersburg in December 1889, the Russian flu had been introduced to Berlin and Hamburg, from where it was carried by ocean-going liners to Liverpool, Boston and Buenos Aires.
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The Russian flu sparked two further global waves of illness in 1892 and 1893, resulting in an estimated one million deaths, though the true casualties from the pandemic were probably higher. By contrast the three-waves of Spanish flu occurred during a brief 11-month period between the summer of 1918 and the spring of 1919. The pandemic, which coincided with the First World War, was almost certainly fueled by the rapid passage of American soldiers to the front lines in northern Europe via Atlantic troop carriers.
But the big game-changer has been international jet travel and the greater global connectivity that has come with it. Located at the centre of China’s airline network, Wuhan is both a domestic and international hub, with more than 100 non-stop flights to 22 countries worldwide. The result is that whereas during the 2002 SARS outbreak it took five months for the coronavirus to spread worldwide, this time it has taken just four weeks for the world to catch China’s cold.
Another important lesson from the recent run of epidemics is that by focusing too narrowly on microbial causation, we risk missing the wider ecological and environmental picture.
Seventy percent of emerging infectious diseases originate in the animal kingdom. Beginning with the AIDs pandemic of the 1980s, and continuing through SARS, and the recent Ebola and bird flu scares in the early 2000s, most outbreaks can be traced to so-called spillover events from animals to humans. Some of these can be prevented by better hygiene and regular inspections of wild animal markets. But others can be traced to the disturbance of ecological equilibriums or alterations to the environments in which pathogens habitually reside. This is especially true of viruses such as HIV and Ebola that are believed to circulate in discreet animal reservoirs.
For instance, the West African Ebola epidemic very likely began when children in Guinea dined on a local species of bat, known as lolibelo, that had taken up a roost in a rotten tree stump in the middle of their village. The bats usually reside in dry savannah on the edge of woodlands but appear to have been driven from their normal habitat by climate change and deforestation due to the activities of logging companies.
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Bats are also thought to be the ultimate reservoir of coronaviruses, but the virus has also been isolated from snakes and palm civets, a game animal resembling a cat prized by the Chinese for its heat-giving energy. The SARS epidemic was almost certainly sparked by civets traded at a wild animal market in Shenzhen in southeast China. Likewise, the Wuhan outbreak appears to have begun at a wholesale seafood market which, despite its name, also sold wild animals, including wolf cubs, crocodiles, snakes and bats.
A third lesson is that China’s mega-cities – like vast urban conurbations in Asia, Africa, and South America – provide the ideal breeding grounds for the amplification and spread of novel pathogens by concentrating large numbers of people in cramped and often unsanitary spaces. Sometimes technology and alterations to our built environment can mitigate the risks that such overcrowding presents for the transfer of pathogens to people. Thus the plague abatement measures that followed the outbreaks of plague in San Francisco in 1901 and in Los Angeles in 1924, were effective at removing the rats and squirrels that harbored plague fleas from domestic homes and businesses.
Likewise, tower blocks and air conditioning systems are very effective ways of insulating people from the mosquitoes that transmit Zika and other diseases. But as became clear during the SARS outbreak when Hong Kong saw scores of infections at the Amoy Gardens apartment complex in Kowloon, our built environment can also present new disease risks.
Indeed, time and again, we assist microbes to occupy new ecological niches and spread to new places in ways that usually only become apparent after the event. In such circumstances, it is worth keeping in mind the view expressed by George Bernard Shaw in The Doctor’s Dilemma, namely that “The characteristic microbe of a disease might be a symptom instead of a cause.”
But perhaps the biggest lesson from the recent run of epidemics is that while scientific knowledge is always advancing, it can also be a trap, blinding us to the epidemic just around the corner – the so-called Disease X’s.
Thus, in the case of SARS, our delay in realizing we were dealing with a dangerous new respiratory pathogen, was due in no small part to the WHO’s conviction that the world was on the brink of a pandemic of H5N1 avian influenza—a view that seemed to be confirmed when ducks, geese, and swans suddenly began dying in two Hong Kong parks.
Similarly, the 2014 Ebola outbreak was initially missed by the WHO, not least because few experts suspected that the virus, which had previously been associated with outbreaks in remote forested regions of central Africa, might pose a threat to West Africa, much less to cities such as Monrovia, Freetown, New York and Dallas.
In each case, what was “known” before the event that Ebola can’t reach a major urban area, much less a city in North America; that coronaviruses do not cause atypical pneumonias – was shown to be wrong and the experts were left looking foolish.
The good news this time round is that the new coronavirus was quickly identified by Chinese scientists, and despite the Chinese government’s initial suppression of warnings posted on social media by medics at the frontline of the outbreak, they rapidly shared the genetic sequence. This gives us hope we will be able to develop a vaccine, something that didn’t happen during SARS.
However, those efforts will certainly not be aided by misinformation about the efficacy, for instance, of face masks over sensible measures such as frequent hand-washing. Nor is it helpful to refer to the “exotic” Chinese taste for wild animals or, as one French newspaper did last week, post scare headlines about a “yellow alert.”
A final lesson of medical history is that during epidemics we need to choose our words carefully, lest language becomes a motor for xenophobia, stigma and prejudice, as occurred in the early 1980s when AIDs was wrongly labeled “the gay plague.” This is especially the case in our era of instantaneous digital communications, where misinformation and fake news travels faster and more widely than any virus.
Topline: One of the deadliest pandemics in human history, the Black Death plague, has cropped up again with two cases recently reported in China—although chances of another global pandemic are slim to none, according to medical experts.
Two people from the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia are reportedly being treated for the plague—the same disease that caused the Black Death, which wiped out around 50 million people in Europe during the 14th century—according to state officials.
It’s not the first time the disease has been reported this year: Earlier in 2019, a Mongolian couple died from bubonic plague after eating a raw marmot kidney, while over the summer, plague-infested prairie dogs shut down parts of a Denver suburb in Colorado.
Human infections continue to occur primarily in rural areas, sometimes in the western U.S., but more frequently in parts of Asia, South America and primarily Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In recent decades, an average of seven human plague cases in the U.S. have been reported each year, with the last deaths occurring in 2015, according to CDC data.
Plague can be transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, primarily wild rodents like rats, prairie dogs, squirrels and rabbits—although human pets like cats and dogs can also get infected.
While today we have modern antibiotics to effectively treat infections and prevent death if caught early enough, there is currently no vaccine to protect individuals from the plague.
Crucial quote: “The risks of a global plague pandemic such as the 14th century Black Death are close to nil,” says Dr. James Shepherd, an associate professor of internal medicine (infectious diseases) at the Yale School of Medicine. “It is a zoonosis—an infection with a wild animal reservoir—transmitted by flea bites and so it doesn’t have the capacity to rapidly spread from person to person. … There are sporadic cases in the U.S. annually, often in hunters, so we see it occasionally.”
Key background: During the Middle Ages, the Black Death plague wiped out around 50 million people and 60% of Europe’s population at the time. Plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, and can arise in three forms: Bubonic plague is most common, marked by swollen lymph nodes on the body. If not treated early enough, that can cause septicemic plague, which infects the blood, and worse yet, pneumonic plague, which infects the lungs.
What to watch for: Despite its associations with historical pandemics, the disease is still around today. More than 3,248 cases were reported worldwide from 2010 to 2015, including 584 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. With close to 50,000 human cases of the plague in the last two decades, according to CNN, the WHO now classifies it as a reemerging disease. The three countries where the plague is most endemic are Peru, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Madagascar—where a 2017 outbreak saw 2,348 reported cases and 202 deaths.
I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at email@example.com
The Black Death pandemic swept across Europe in the mid-14th century killing about half the population. It was caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. This strain of bacteria is still around today, but intriguingly it causes far fewer deaths. To find out why, researchers reconstructed a medieval Yersinia pestis genome — and compared it to the genomes of contemporary strains. The team, led by German scientist Johannes Krause, made use of recent technological advances in DNA recovery and analysis to examine DNA from the skeletons of four individuals buried in East Smithfield in London, a well-known medieval burial site for victims of the Black Death. Read the original research paper here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature10549 And read the feature here: http://www.nature.com/news/2011/11102…
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