Cerebral palsy brings out the worst in even the common cold. Since I was a little girl, I’ve seemed to catch colds easily. I need many people to assist me with my personal care, and with that additional contact comes extra germs that can lead to illness.
Colds aren’t pleasant for anyone, but it’s torture when you’re unable to hold a tissue to blow your nose. I remember missing a lot of days of school because of my stuffy nose.
Doctors advise patients with viral illnesses to drink plenty of fluids. Though that doesn’t sound difficult, it can be a challenge with cerebral palsy. We can’t always physically get a drink and have to wait for an opportunity to ask for help. More fluids also mean you have to use the bathroom more often, and our bladder control isn’t the best, especially when we’re sick. Some people with cerebral palsy have difficulty transferring to the toilet by themselves. So while drinking more fluids is good advice, we have to consider what accommodations we will have to make.
During Christmas break, our family dealt with bothersome sicknesses. Mine started with a scratchy sore throat. I thought I was getting a cold, so I took zinc every three hours and thought I had it beat! But I didn’t beat much of anything. As the days continued, my symptoms fluctuated. I tried my best to keep my sunny disposition, but it wasn’t easy when I felt terrible.
When my daughter became extremely sick very quickly, I took her to an urgent care center where we were both diagnosed with viral illnesses. Three days later, my daughter developed an ear infection. And just as I thought I was getting better, I woke up on a Saturday feeling worse. My nose and throat were clogged and I had difficulty breathing. It was scary.
My husband took me back to urgent care. We brought my son with us because he had been fighting a cold for three weeks. We figured that since I had to go, we should have him looked at as well. My husband dropped us off and went to get his driver’s license renewed about five minutes away. I was impressed with my 6-year-old son who did so well getting our insurance cards out of my wallet. He is becoming more helpful and mature every day.
It turned out that my son and I both had ear infections and I also had sinusitis. My husband did his best to help me feel better. My antibiotic pill was so big that we had to crush it. I ate it with ice cream and it worked like a charm.
Colds are no joke when you have cerebral palsy. Preventing them is the best strategy. But if that doesn’t work, try sipping on chicken soup, take medication for your symptoms, rest, and try to drink as much as you can.
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disorder. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.