Island Flu

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Some people lament being sick in the summer, or the extra awfulness that is #manflu, but for my money, there is no illness quite like the one you get while living in paradise.

For one thing, you don’t just fear that you’re missing out when it’s a gorgeous day outside and the beach down the road is warm and sunny. This is the pain of knowing for absolute certain that you are definitely missing out. This Saturday while my friends went to the beach or pool or hopped over to Virgin Gorda for the most recent Food Fete event, I was in my bed chugging water and paracetamol. It was miserable!

We also have to contend with the special bother that is island pharmacies. Man was I spoiled by the giant chain pharmacies and big-box stores back in southern California. With such a small population to serve, perishable items that don’t get purchased frequently just aren’t a wise investment for businesses that serve island communities. I get why they don’t keep too many different medications on hand: why buy in bulk when chances are that you’ll have to throw away a lot of your stock when it expires? As a sick consumer, however, the last thing I want to do is visit four or five pharmacies only to settle on whatever over-the-counter treatment comes closest to treating my particular symptoms.

What I do love is the resourcefulness of island home remedies. I have a friend who swears by rum to treat sore throat. I can’t remember the exact reasoning behind this particular folk cure – it may have had something to do with the time this friend spent slinging drinks at BVI bars! I do recall that after I got over the initial burning sensation of that shot of rum going down, my throat actually did feel better.

I’ve also had excellent success with eucalyptus leaf tea as a treatment for cough and congestion. It’s vastly more pleasant and convenient to step outside, pull some leaves off a tree, and then wash and boil them for tea compared to swallowing pills. They make the house smell great, too. Plus, like I said, it works really well for me, and when you’re sick, all you want is to feel better.

I want to know what everybody else uses to treat illness at home. If you have a home cure you can’t live without, let me know about it in the comments.

A version of this column appeared in the Nov. 22 edition of the Limin Times.

 

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