Tag Archives: fever


The Wartime Housewife is currently in bed, sweating and snuffling.  And not in a good way.

When I recover, I shall discourse upon why being ill when one is a single parent is not really an option.


Filed under Health and Fitness

Trouble at Both Ends: How to cope with Diarrhoea & Vomiting

The winter diarrhoea and vomiting (D&V) bug appears to have reared its ugly head once again.  I have known several people with it over the weekend and it has absolutely knocked them for six, children and adults alike.  So be sensible and remember if D&V continues unabated for more than 24 hours, consult your doctor:

  • Keep off school and work until you are better – it’s not fair on other people to go in and spread it round everyone else.  Particularly stay away from babies and the elderly
  • Cover the mattress, covers and pillows with thick layers of towels which can be removed layer by layer if D&V is uncontrolled.  Cover the floor similarly with newspapers and put the buckets or bowls on these
  • Buy some pull-ups (nappy pants) for young children – it will save a lot of sheets
  • If your young child has a temperature, keep them cool – if they’re in bed, just cover them with a sheet.  Shivering is not necessarily a sign that they are cold, it’s the body’s way of cooling down
  • Adults: if you can keep water down, keep on sipping away, if not don’t drink
  • Children: if they can’t keep water down don’t give it to them until things have eased up and they can keep down fluids and have stopped vomiting or running to the lavatory
  • Then start giving them tiny amounts of cool, boiled water, using a medicine syringe if you have one, until they can start drinking properly
  • Mint tea is also very cooling – put 1 heaped teaspoon of dried mint or a small bunch of fresh minto into a teapot and add about a mugful of boiling water.  Leave for 5 minutes, strain, leave to cool slightly and sip gently
  • As soon as diarrhoea strikes, start taking some electrolyte powders eg. Dioralyte (or shops own) which are just as good.  This will keep you hydrated. 
  • If you don’t have any, a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon and a small teaspoon of honey is the perfect re-hydrant
  • Make up a plant spray containing water and 6 drops of lemon or peppermint essential oil.  Spray this around the room as it is an effective antiseptic and air freshener.
  • Keep some antiseptic wipes close, so that you can keep hands clean even if you can’t get to the washbasin
  • If anyone has a sore bottom, mix 3 drops of chamomile or lavender essential oil into a tablespoon of zinc and castor oil cream, remembering to wash your hands thoroughly after applying it
  • Ask your family or neighbours for help; they don’t need to come in, but they could do some washing for you or make you a pan of soup, or sit with your children if you’re not well yourselfOnce fluids are staying in and the D&V has stopped, try some very light foods, with not too much milk in
  • Scrambled egg
  • Mashed banana
  • Stewed apple or pear
  • Bread and thin butter
  • Poached white fish
  • Mashed potatoes, pureed parsnips or carrots
  • Porridge
  • Complan – I buy the plain Complan (much cheaper) and mix it with milk & water with a little bit of cocoa and sugar.  It tastes nice, is very easy to digest and gives you the strength to start eating something more substantial
  • Another version of this is what we used to call Fairy Milk: a glass of milk, with an egg and a teaspoon of sugar mixed in, is frothy, tasty and nourishing

Soup – I make up a pan of Leek and Potato soup which can be thinned out with water at first, then gradually served on its own.  It is nourishing and cleansing, and the mint and parsley in it are cooling and antiseptic to the digestive tract (recipe below)


1 x large saucepan
1 x chopping board
1 x vegetable peeler
1 x sharp knife
1 x stick blender

2oz / 60g butter
2 large leeks – thinly sliced
½ onion – chopped
1 ½ lbs / 720g potatoes – peeled and cubed
1 heaped teaspoon dried parsley (double if fresh)
1 flat teaspoon dried mint (double if fresh)
a twist of black pepper
1 ½ pints / 900ml chicken stock
¼ pint / 150ml double cream

Melt the butter in the pan
Add the leeks and onions and cook until soft
Add the potatoes, herbs & pepper and cook until the potatoes are softening
Add the stock and simmer until the potatoes are soft
Blend until smooth
Stir in the cream


Filed under Children, Cleaning, Food, Natural Home Medicines, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes

Natural Home Remedies – Part 2: Colds, coughs, flu, indigestion and thrush

In which I discuss digestive, throat problems, phlegm, colds, coughs and thrush in both men and women.

Plants on windowsil 08.09.09Natural medicines seem  to be very much in demand, judging by your visits to the Wartime Housewife recently, so I will tell you about a few more. But before I do, I want to have a little chat about alternative and complementary treatments. 

I am a qualified Massage Therapist and Aromatherapist (oh how I loathe that term) and I have a special interest in nutrition.  I tend to see people with chronic illnesses such as Parkinsons, arthritis, shingles, depression, but occasionally people come to me with acute conditions such as back pain, muscle spasms or because they feel run down.   I take a full medical history, listen to their heart rate, take their blood pressure and, most importantly, listen and observe very carefully while they tell me about their condition.  Sometimes alarm bells ring and I refer them straight to their GP.  If they have an acute condition such as a muscle strain I can generally make them better, providing they do as they’re told.   With chronic illness, I can support circulation, immune system, nervous system, muscle tone, digestion and promote relaxation.  This ‘me time’  helps people to feel better able to cope, so that although I can’t make them better, I can help them to feel better.

But what I always tell people with more long term health problems is this.  It has taken a long time for you to become unwell and if you really want to get better it will take a while for your body to right itself. And it will only do this if you change your behaviour, your diet and how much you move about.  This can be very hard these days as we put ourselves under enormous pressure at home and at work, but part of the ethos of The Wartime Housewife is to re-examine how we live our lives.  Food is our fuel and if we don’t nourish our bodies properly we will break down.  Exercise keeps us fit, speeds up our metabolism and releases endorphins which lift our spirits.  Our families and friends provide us with love, support, entertainment and physical and intellectual stimulus so we must nurture them and make time for them and for ourselves.  We must learn to understand how our bodies work and look after them appropriately.

I am not anti doctors, but we have to give them a fighting chance.  The NHS is massively burdened with people who become ill  because they eat rubbish, don’t move about enough, and generally abuse themselves.  GP’s are asked to work longer and longer hours in the interests of accessibility, when I can’t help feeling that if people genuinely need medical advice, they should make the time to visit the doctor during reasonable surgery hours. 

The whole issue of work, illness, trust and personal responsibility will have to wait for another article.  In the meantime, The Wartime Housewife says ‘Eat proper food and not too much of it, move about more, get regular fresh air and have a decent night’s sleep’.  In case of malfunction , here are a few remedies to help you out.  (Remember if symptoms persist, consult your GP – at a respectable time!)

Indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, wind

Get a large handful of fresh mint leaves or a flat tablespoon of dried mint and put into a jug or teapot.
Pour about ¾ pint of boiling water
Leave to infuse for about 10 minutes.
Strain and sip gently and slowly until it is all gone
Repeat when necessary.

You can also use peppermint essential oil if you have it.  2 drops to 1 pint of very hot water, stir well and pour out the required amount into a glass.  Sip gently until completely gone.


As above but use an equivalent amount of thyme instead of the mint.  Thyme is a very effective anti-mucolytic – if you really don’t like the taste add a tablespoon of honey which has the added advantage of being an anti-inflammatory.


Chop 1 medium onion very finely and place in a small bowl
Pour 2 tablespoons of honey over the top
Cover and leave overnight.
Strain off the juice and take a dessertspoonful every hour or two until the cough is easing


Obviously, I only recommend putting the whisky in for teenagers and adults.  And use your common sense and use a painkiller that suits you, don’t exceed the stated dose etc etc. 

Put into a tall glass:
1 bulging tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of whisky
Top up the glass with very hot water and stir well until the honey has dissolved
Drink it all before it goes cold.
Take 2 paracetamol or ibuprofen. 

If there is any fever lurking around, this will bring it out and usually guarantees a good night’s sleep at the end of it.


Firstly, make sure that you keep your bits and pieces very clean indeed and wash with a non-fragranced soap.  Wear cotton underwear.  Then thoroughly mix:

1 tablespoon of zinc and castor oil cream with
1 drop tea tree oil

For women, apply gently to the external area.  Put some of the cream (1/4 teaspoon) onto the end of a tampon, pop it in as usual and leave for a couple of hours, then do it again.

For men, apply gently to the whole end of your willy, making sure you get it under your foreskin where micro-organisms roam free.

Both:  Keep treating until symptoms subside.  If it doesn’t clear up within about 48 hours, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.


Filed under Family and Friends, Natural Home Medicines, Nutrition & Sensible Eating