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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Frugal Sick Days

Mike and I have caught a bug. Exactly which one, we don't know, but we're both feeling pretty miserable and out of it. In light of current situation, I've decided to speak about thriftiness and being sick.

Cost of Being Sick
  • Unpaid sick days for hourly workers
  • Copays for doctor, or cost price for checkup if you cannot afford insurance
  • Highly priced medicine
With these sometimes prohibitive costs involved in feeling under the weather, here are some ways to reduce costs when sick.

Frugal Sick Days

  • Work When Ill. If you take off work for every little sniffle, your paycheck will certainly show it. If you can work while sick, consider doing so, unless working while under the weather will cause you to get sicker, requiring you to take off even more days to recuperate. If you can nip your illness in the bud by taking one day off at the start of your illness versus 3 or 4 days further along, take that one day off. You know your body best.
  • Don't Rush to the Doctor. Many a time I've gone to the doctor and been told "That's a virus. Rest well, and you should feel better in a few days." Wait 24-48 hours once sick to see if you're on the road to recovery so you don't waste time and money at the doctor so he can tell you to rest. (Don't ignore warning signals like very high fevers or trouble breathing; it pays to be vigilant with those.)
  • Drink Up. When sick, people often don't like to drink, but dehydration will just make an illness worse in addition to necessitating an IV (more costs). 
  • Natural Remedies. While you may not be "into" alternative medicine, there are some natural remedies that even the most die hard anti-natural doctor (like my dad) will suggest, as they've been proven to work. If you can avoid the cost of a doctor's visit by using these remedies, you'll save your pocketbook the expense of the visit and medicine, and likely spare your body the havoc over-medication can cause.

Frugal Home Remedies

Chicken Soup. Grandma was  right; chicken soup has many healing benefits. This hot liquid fights dehydration, is chock full of nutrients, soothes sore throats, and even has special anti-inflammatory agents. The steam coming from your hot bowl helps sooth congestion and relieves sinus headaches. Make your frugal chicken soup by combining chicken scrap soup and vegetable scrap soup recipes.
Garlic. Proven by studies, garlic, especially when raw, is a very potent wonder "drug". When sick, try to eat as much raw garlic as you can handle. I eat toast with butter and slivers of raw garlic when sick, or eat crackers with my homemade garlic dip. Recipe below.
Onions. Powerful like garlic, this is also best eaten raw. Or throw lots of onion and garlic into your chicken soup. Onion chopped up and mixed with honey works well as cough medicine.
Vitamin C. Make freshly squeezed orange juice or grape fruit juice, preferably with fruit from the reduced rack. The acidity is soothing to the throat. Alternatively, you can use powdered ascorbic acid, or vitamin C in pill form. This vitamin is a known immune system booster.
Lemon and Honey. A delicious balm for sore throats.
BRAT Diet. When sick with stomach ailments, instead of using immodium or other drugs, stick to a diet of white rice, boiled carrots, apples, bananas, and toast. When starting to feel a bit better, you can add yogurt, low fat chicken, and chicken soup. Avoid other dairy, and fibrous foods like whole grains and most fruit.
Anti-Fungals. Lacto-bacillus rich foods such as homemade pickles, sauerkraut, and yogurt help restore the body's yeast/bacteria imbalance. This imbalance causes stomach issues, thrush, and yeast infections. In addition to eating these foods, you can also slather your lacto-bacillus rich yogurt onto the affected areas.
Coke. Generic brand is fine; coke syrup works as a natural anti-emetic (stops you from throwing up). If you can't keep food down, instead of opting for over the counter or prescription drugs, first try a bit of Coca Cola (or whichever brand is cheapest).

Raw Garlic Spread

1 green apple
5-10 cloves of garlic (depending on how strong you can handle. The more garlic, the more potent.)
2 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp salt

Blend until smooth. Serve on toast, crackers, or bread.
Enjoy the burn and feel better soon!


What are your frugal methods of dealing with illness? Do you rush to the doctor when sick, or do you first try some of these, or other home remedies?


This is part of the Festival of Frugality at Remodeling This Life

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