Viral Meningitis – Not For Sissies! {How to Boost Your Immune System}

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Even though the title speaks for itself, I would like to elaborate on my recent experience with Viral Meningitis. If you are a Mom, you will know that Moms aren’t allowed to be ill, therefore this felt as if it was the longest 2 weeks of my life ‘without’ my kids.

A few weeks ago, I attended an event, and was feeling 100% fine. After returning home, I suddenly and unexpectedly became ill, I had severe headaches and felt lethargic, so I opted to have a little sleep over at my mom’s because hubby was out working, and didn’t feel comfortable being at home alone with the boys while feeling so weak.

In the middle of the Saturday night I woke up with the worst migraine and began throwing up. By Sunday morning I had no energy left, and slept the entire day, not being able to even take care of my own kids, I knew something was seriously wrong.

By Monday morning I was progressively worse, and so were the headaches. I went to the doctor and she immediately tested my neck for stiffness and booked me straight into hospital with suspected Meningitis.

I was admitted on the Monday morning to Panorama Medi-Clinic and had a Lumber Puncture to test for Meningitis, which was positive for Viral Meningitis.

What is Viral Meningitis?

This Virus is an infection in the lining of the brain and the spinal cord, The symptoms include,

Fever

Severe Headaches

Drowsiness

Nausea and Vomiting

Neck Stiffness

Sensitivity to light

Because there is no specific medication or cure for the illness, pain medication and hospitalization for monitoring and bed rest is necessary.

How it is tested

A Lumbar puncture (also known as a ‘spinal tap’) is necessary to test for the virus, this involves the insertion of a needle into the spinal fluid within the spinal canal. Tests on the fluid are done to determine the type of meningitis that has attacked the immune system.

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How I was treated

 I was put up on a drip for IV Fluids as I was dehydrated from the continuous vomiting. They sent me for a CT scan to test if there was any swelling or bleeding on the brain from the effects of Meningitis as well as any signs of ruling out sinusitis. Luckily everything was clear.

I had plenty of rest in the hospital that day, and the next day the doctor confirmed it was an Viral Meningitis that had attacked my immune system. I was put on strict bed rest, and as there is no cure for the illness, I was given some pain medication to cope with the migraines and nausea, and sent home the Thursday afternoon.

On the way home I was severely dehydrated and hadn’t eaten since the Sunday. Eventually I managed to eat something small to gain a little bit of strength, but as much pain medication as I was ingesting, the headaches and nausea weren’t budging.

By the next Monday, I was feeling worse than before, and was re-admitted into hospital. After explaining how I was feeling, it was figured out that the Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the Lumbar puncture was leaking and causing intensely painful headaches due to the pressure, and the nausea causing me to dehydrate and not able to keep any food down. The CSF circulates around the brain and the spinal cord, and acts as a support of buoyancy for the brain and spinal cord, which helps to protect the brain against injury. The doctor then referred me to a neurologist.

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I was sent for an EEG test to test for any slowing of the brain or effects that CFS leak might have been causing, after getting clear positive results, I was booked for an epidural blood patch the Tuesday evening, this meant having an epidural in theater, and injecting the cavity of the hole caused by the Lumbar Puncture with my own blood to fill the cavity. This causes a type of blood clot which ultimately patches up the hole that is leaking the CSF.

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After 12 hours of lying flat on my back, I was discharged to rest at home for a couple of days and felt better immediately. The doctor said it could take up to 6 weeks for my body to start normalizing again, and about 3 months to feel completely myself again.

The side effects of the Lumbar Puncture included intense insomnia, temporary Arthritis in my hips and shoulders, and a slight sensitivity to light. This will take a while to normalize again.

The pain I had experienced with the entire ordeal, I would not wish upon my worst enemy. I encourage you to make it a priority to look after your immune system.  So today I want to share some tips on foods eat, to help you detox, and fight diseases, especially with winter coming up.

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LEMONS – This wonderful fruit stimulates the release of enzymes and helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that can be easily excreted from the body. In addition, they contain high amounts of vitamin C, a vitamin needed by the body to make glutathione. Glutathione helps ensure that phase 2 liver detoxification keeps pace with phase 1, thereby reducing the likelihood of negative effects from environmental chemicals. Drinking lemon water, which is alkaline-forming, first thing in the morning, among other health benefits will help to balance out the acidity of foods we’ve consumed. They also have an incredible effect in detoxing the liver. Fresh lemon juice contains more than 20 anti-cancer compounds and helps balance the body’s pH levels.

MUSHROOMS– mushrooms are well known when it comes to boosting immunity. They have an ability to increase the production and activity of white blood cells, which is helpful when fighting illnesses.

BELL PEPPERS – Get your daily dose of vitamin C with a diet rich in bell peppers to fight winter colds and the flu. Did you know that they have twice the amount of most citrus fruits including oranges? Increasing your vitamin C intake will also help the length and severity of any cold symptoms you may encounter.

BEANS – beans are rich in soluble fiber, they are a nutritional powerhouse and a great source of zinc, which is a common deficiency among adults. Known as one of the most important minerals for immune support, zinc enhances the function of T cells to help identify and destroy foreign and invading substances and viruses. Zinc also increases the production of anti-inflammatory protein to support immunity.

YOGURT – Keep your gut and intestinal tract free from germs and illness causing agents with probiotics found in yogurt. This healthy bacterium helps stimulate the immune system to fight disease. Look for a brand that promotes “live and active cultures” on the label.

SALMON – Up your servings of fatty fish such as salmon to make sure you’re getting enough omega-3s to help ward off illness. Not only do omega-3 fatty acids increase the production of white blood cells to kill bacteria, but they also support healthy lungs for a strong immune system. Did someone say sushi?

TUMERIC – Used for centuries as part of traditional and ayurvedic Asian medicine, Tumeric has become more popular than ever for its health benefits. This flavorful, powdered spice gets its golden yellow color from a polyphenol called, curcumin, which has strong cold and flu fighting properties. It also boasts antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

BROCOLI – Parents are always trying to get their kids to eat more broccoli and there are many good reasons why. In addition to being chock full of vitamins, minerals and disease fighting antioxidants, broccoli is also high in glucosinolates, which help stimulate the immune system. Try to cook this vegetable superstar as little as possible to preserve its germ fighting properties.

GARLIC – Known for its culinary prowess, garlic also boasts many medicinal benefits, including its ability to boost the immune system.  Garlic fights bacteria, viral and fungal infections. Keep crushed garlic on hand for every day cooking; it can be used in just about anything.

GINGER – Keep your immune system running smoothly by adding ginger to your diet as a detoxing agent. It serves as an anti-inflammatory agent along with helping to sweep germs and toxins out of the body. Add it to your daily cup of tea with lemon for a powerful detox punch.

ALMONDS –  Almonds are the best nut source of Vitamin E. They’re also high in fiber, calcium, magnesium, and usable protein that helps stabilize blood sugar and remove impurities from the bowels.

CINNAMON – The oils from cinnamon contain active components that has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood cells. Cinnamon’s essential oils also qualify it as an “anti-microbial” food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives. It has one of the highest antioxidant values of all foods, and its use in medicine treats everything from nausea to menstruation and energy to diabetes.

FLAXSEEDS – When detoxifying your body, it’s essential to ensure toxins are eliminated properly. Ground flaxseeds provide a wonderful source of fibre that helps to bind and flush toxins from the intestinal tract. They’re also a great source of health promoting omega 3 oils. Try consuming two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds in lemon water every morning.

AVOCADO – This wonder fruit is packed with antioxidants, lowers cholesterol and dilates the blood vessels while blocking artery-destroying toxicity. Avocados contain a nutrient called glutathione, which blocks at least 30 different carcinogens while helping the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals.

BASIL – Basil has anti-bacterial properties, and it’s full of antioxidants to protect the liver. The active ingredients are terpenoids. It is also wonderful for digestion and detoxification, too. It supports the functioning of the kidneys and also acts as a diuretic to help the body expel unwanted toxins. Basil has been known to have anti-ulcer qualities as well as antimicrobial effects that guard against bacteria, yeast, fungi and mold. Basil seed can also help with constipation. The anticancer properties of basil may also relate to its ability to influence viral infections.

 xoxo

Leigh

Majority of the Information of immune booster foods was taken and modified from preventdisease.com

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