Bed rest: necesity or an old wives' tale? / Zustat v posteli nebo je to jedno? - CzechmatediaryBed rest: necesity or an old wives' tale? / Zustat v posteli nebo je to jedno? - Czechmatediary
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Bed rest: necesity or an old wives’ tale? / Zustat v posteli nebo je to jedno?

photoWhen I got a cold or a flu as a child, these were the rules: stay in bed for at least a week, sip on a hot tea with lemon and have a scarf wrapped around your neck to keep it warm. Of course, I didn’t have a TV in my room to keep me company so I would read, play with my dolls and sleep…or stare into the white wall a lot. And I got better.


Our parents usually did not give us any aspirin to bring down the fever so when I had a really high temperature they would roll me up into a cold white sheet to cool down the body. And it worked.

I remember being prescribed antibiotics very rarely, most of the treatment was seriously just bed rest. My parents did not go as far as sticking garlic cloves in my ears when I had an ear infection but some of my friends had to endure that (and they said it worked!).

When going to the doctor here in the US – especially with my kids – you get quite a different experience. Most of the time they get prescribed antibiotics and are sent home with no instructions on how long they should stay out of school (unless I ask). They tell me to use pain reliever/fever reducer anytime with them. I actually love my kids’ doctor because he is very personable (old Hippie) but the way he was trained as a doctor is way more drug-oriented. Wait, I take it back, he tells me to give my kids Popsicles if they have sore throats ☺. I still have not done it because it just feels wrong when you are sick. Even if the Popsicle is sugar-free (because sugar feeds the virus)….

What did we do in old Czechoslovakia when we had a stomach flu? I don’t remember anymore but I have a feeling it was a similar prescription: hot tea, piskoty (hard biscuits) AND bed rest. What do people recommend here? Drink ginger-ale and eat saltines. Quite different right?

I think whatever helps you get through the sickness is fine but the fact that people/kids just stay one day home (forget the bed) and then they go back to school/work is not good. Not very many people recite you the rule that you have to stay isolated for at least 24 hours after your fever passed in order not to be contagious. Many parents, because they are not educated, send their kid back to school the next day after his fever went away. Meanwhile, he is still contagious!

Our whole family just recently got very sick with this nasty flu and it was not pretty. Half dead bodies lying everywhere, cough medicine, Tylenol bottles and snotted up tissues lying all over. My kids saw just about all the kid movies on Netflix and were out of school for a week….drinking a lot of tea with honey and lemon. Now every time I mention to somebody that they were absent from school for that long, they can’t believe it. And I can’t believe it that they can’t believe it!!!

So my advice is when the fever starts, make a cocoon out of your blanket, and stay in there until a beautiful, healthy, butterfly comes out. Which is in about a week.



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15 comments… add one
  • Jana V March 2, 2014, 12:17 pm

    Yes, if any of us had a cold or the flu: zamotat krk a lezat. If it was really bad we would get becherovka or slivovice and we would never go to the dr office because tea was the ultimate medicine.

  • Lenka March 2, 2014, 2:46 pm

    lol. One Week seemed to have been the answer for every sickness. Also, you got a blood test after your antibiotics were finished to make sure you are 100% back. I have never heard that practice here. I usually do not take my kids to the doctor because no matter what we go for, the standard answer is Tylenol. I hate Tylenol (or any other type of fever reducing medicine). Your body raises your temperature to get rid of the virus or infection that is attacking it. What happens when you lower the temperature or fever? Ahhh, you get sicker because you forced your body to not be able to kill whatever it was trying to kill. Now, don’t get me wrong, I get that when you have a high fever it is dangerous, I am talking about life nonthreatening high temperatures. And do I care when people look at me strangely when I start cooking my weird potions to get rid of sickness? Nope. I just blame it on the Old country. Me no speak English.

  • Vlastimil March 3, 2014, 1:35 am

    No wonder there is such a high rate of crime in US….Sick people should lay in bed ….

  • Tanja March 3, 2014, 12:35 pm

    Haha Lenko! That’s funny. The only thing us and Americans do the same when we are sick is eating chicken soup. Of course, most of them eat the canned one (blah) but we do it from scratch :)). Although couple of times I was so desperate I bought chicken broth from a paste added some noodles in it. And it still was healing. So perhaps the fake chicken soup does some good too.

  • Tanja March 3, 2014, 12:36 pm

    Jano, my husband always drinks vodka when he is sick, telling me it will kill the germs. And he is American!

  • Tanja March 3, 2014, 12:38 pm

    Vlastimile, I challenge you to call local media and show them your new statistical connection 😉

  • Alena March 5, 2014, 12:50 pm

    When I had a stomach ache, I was given charcoal tablets that I had to chew up. Yuck, but it worked! We never found them when we moved away.

  • Eva Z. March 5, 2014, 2:56 pm

    Well, I don’t think that universal one week in bed is applicable to all illnesses, however, I do agree that people need to stay home (and in bed) when they are sick. This is not just a problem with kids but with adults mostly as they don’t want to miss work, while they are miserable, don’t do any work anyway and also infect most of the office! I also agree with you, that the doc never tells you whether you should stay at home or not…Recently I had a quite serious illness that I had to be hospitalized for and after they released me, noone told me to stay at home and rest…after I asked if I should not go to work, the doc said it was a good idea…And yes, Tylenol/Ibuprofen and/or antibiotics are universal for everything, even if you don’t need it (like virus infections).

  • Tanja March 9, 2014, 9:06 pm

    Aleno, yes! I forgot about ‘uhli’! That was for diarrhea.

  • Tanja March 9, 2014, 9:09 pm

    Evi, it sounds to me like we need to start a rest reformation!!! I will see you with those banners in front the White House…tomorrow at 8am.

  • Marina March 10, 2014, 12:04 pm

    I understand your concern, but calling those who chose not to stay home for so long uneducated is really cruel. Many people are very responsible and far more educated than most Czechs I know and they simply do not want their children to miss more school than necessary. Most Czechs would have children out for months each year–which is not helpful (my profession is in education texts). I think it is important to respect the tendencies of all belief systems, including those that are medical. Tanja, fear you missed it on this one which is sad because I usually love reading your posts.

  • Lenka March 10, 2014, 1:05 pm

    Marina, I see way too many parents sending their kids to school, after school activities or sports with high fever, vomiting and diarrhea not because they don’t want them to miss school but because it is more convenient for them to do so. I hear parents saying after their kids threw up that they eat something bad in the morning while the child is saying they were throwing up all night. I see them pump their child up with Tylenol to cover the fact that their child has a fever. I understand that parents don’t get many days off or sick days, but it is the convenience of not having to take a day off, or taking advantage of activity you already paid for that drives a lot of parents to send their kids while still contagious out instead of keeping them in bed to get rest. And that goes with adults as well. how much work do you get done when you are sick anyway? And you are putting your coworkers in danger of catching whatever you have. If companies had more brains, they would understand and be supportive of their employees when they are seriously sick .

  • Tanja March 10, 2014, 1:27 pm

    Marino, I wrote ‘most parent’, which means not all of them are uneducated in that matter. Yet as you can see, other people have experienced what I did (Lenka’s comment). What IS cruel is to send your child to school, doped on Tylenol, like Lenka said, so they don’t miss an unpaid day at work. It happens too often.

  • Tanja March 10, 2014, 1:28 pm

    PS: Marino, I don’t think it is sad that I have a different opinion than you. It happens :). At least we get to have a discussion :).

  • Marina March 17, 2014, 8:21 am

    I guess I would appreciate this more if you were working to promote more paid sick time for families. Also, I know Czech parents who ‘report’ on non-Czech parents for sending kids to school, when the children have NO FEVER, just meddling. So who is uneducated? I just wish there was respect for the difficulties so many parents (myself included) face in trying to provide both sick time and adequate time in school to do well on exams and prepare for a college scholarship. Education, after all, is everything.

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