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Old 25.09.2011, 09:57
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Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

Ok, sorry for the dramatic title of the thread.

I moved here in Morges to start my studies at EPFL last week and I have been sick ever since. My body can't seem to adapt to the climate here.

This is what I've had so far:

1. Flu/runny nose: comes and goes, not really a big deal.
2. Sore Throat
3. Fever: had it for a while last week, much better now
4. Congestion in the chest

1 and 3 are manageable, since I've had them before in Singapore. 2 and 4 are damn annoying and I don't know what to do about them!

I think the problem is I moved from a tropical country with a high temperature and high humidity and my body cant adapt to the cold dry weather here which results in the dry nose, sore throat and horrible congestion in the chest.

So my question to all you fine English Forumers is:

1. Has anyone who moved from a tropical country had similar experiences to mine? If so, how did you manage?
2. Whats the cheapest way I can get out of this? I don't want to go to the doctor because I heard it costs an arm and a leg. Any ideas/products to help make my body adapt easier?

Thanks in advance for ur replies.
Have a wonderful day!
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Old 25.09.2011, 10:07
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Re: Help! Dying in Switzerland!!!

It will be a matter of time that your body will develop resistance and adopt to these changes.

Get well soon
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Old 25.09.2011, 10:14
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

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Ok, sorry for the dramatic title of the thread.

I moved here in Morges to start my studies at EPFL last week and I have been sick ever since. My body can't seem to adapt to the climate here.

This is what I've had so far:

1. Flu/runny nose: comes and goes, not really a big deal.
2. Sore Throat
3. Fever: had it for a while last week, much better now
4. Congestion in the chest

1 and 3 are manageable, since I've had them before in Singapore. 2 and 4 are damn annoying and I don't know what to do about them!

I think the problem is I moved from a tropical country with a high temperature and high humidity and my body cant adapt to the cold dry weather here which results in the dry nose, sore throat and horrible congestion in the chest.

So my question to all you fine English Forumers is:

1. Has anyone who moved from a tropical country had similar experiences to mine? If so, how did you manage?
2. Whats the cheapest way I can get out of this? I don't want to go to the doctor because I heard it costs an arm and a leg. Any ideas/products to help make my body adapt easier?

Thanks in advance for ur replies.
Have a wonderful day!
Sounds like you picked just up the cold virus that is going around at the moment. Takes a couple or 3 weeks to get rid of it.
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Old 25.09.2011, 10:35
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

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Sounds like you picked just up the cold virus that is going around at the moment. Takes a couple or 3 weeks to get rid of it.
That's what I thought.

Yes pharmacies and drugs are not cheap, but if the congestion, runny nose etc is bothering you, go in and ask. Most pharmacies also do natural remedies (and I'm thinking it sounds like a good steam inhalation with some nose clearing herbs would be a good start) so it doesn't hurt to ask. I'm afraid I cannot recommend any product as I bring the everyday medicines for our family back from the UK.

In the meantime, tank up on vitamins and the sun. Try to sleep well, take some excercise and not worry.
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Old 25.09.2011, 10:35
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

It will take some time to adjust but you will. Jet lag can lower your immune system. I came here direct from Hong Kong and it took me a few weeks. Bear in mind, in terms of cold dry air, you ain't seen nothing yet. It get much, much colder and drier in Winter so you might want to get yourself a humidifier for your bedroom.
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Old 25.09.2011, 10:57
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

I came from Florida and was immediately sick as you describe - jet lag, change in climate AND change in elevation all worked against me to make sure I got whatever bug was around at that time.

I agree with the others, go to the pharmacy, if you describe what you're experiencing, they should be able to suggest a few things that will help sort you out. Sage or mint teas will help some with congestion, as well as soothing your throat a bit. I've noticed that they have some Sage (salbei) chewy drops candies at Migros, as well as other cough drops / "kräuterbonbons," there, Coop and at the various pharmacies.

About the humidifier, yes, get one, have it on "all night" BUT the apartments here (at least up here in Basel) are very prone to mold if it's too humid so you'll need to open the windows for a few minutes (10 or so) every morning to let things dry out again.
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Old 25.09.2011, 13:40
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

I had some of your symptoms a few weeks ago as I was very busy at work and not sleeping too well. I made some ginger tea with honey and drank that after a very hot shower. Then I wrap up warm for a early night. The symptoms disappeared after 2 days. So try that, it is relatively cheap and works every time for me.

Ingredients:
Very Fresh Root Ginger (big chuck - may be like 2 thumb size)
honey
a pint of water

Method:
1. Shred ginger into very thin strips or if you got a good grater, grate them
2. add water to ginger in a pot. Bring to boil.
3. Simmer the ginger with partial lid on until the liquid colour like light beer (golden yellow colour), this will take a good 15 min at least.
4. pour that into a mug and add honey to taste

Once you drank that, you can redo the process for second round. It might not be as strong but will be ok for second day. Repeat the drink for a few days.

Btw. if you can eat spicy food as well, cook something hot and spicy with chilli and garlic, that should help to boost your immune system. It is not fun to be sick in a new place but this always work for me, even in hotel rooms. Use a thermal flask for the cooking part and will need to leave for longer.
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Old 25.09.2011, 13:47
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

We definitely had a lot of coughs/colds/virus/gastro and even chicken-pox in the first year of arriving, and I had a whole round of them again (well, not the chicken pox) when I started working in a childcare centre.

The dry air makes it easier for viruses/bacteria to get through your body's defence system, plus you are in a new place with new diseases that your body has no immunity. Double that with a long plane journey in a confined space with dry air, the jet lag, and the sheer exhaustion of packing up your old life and starting something new...

I recommend you familiarise yourself with your local medical centre, pharmacy, and get plenty of rest, water, sunshine and fresh air...

With the sore throat, 'strep' throat is very common here (well, certainly my colleagues and I seem to get it a lot) - it's caused by a bacteria, makes a very very sore throat, and you need antibiotics by around 48 hours - I had it and by the third day I was having trouble swallowing water...you can easily end up in hospital needing rehydration and IV antibiotics.

To test for it, they will do a swab at the back of your throat (painless and simple) and be able to run the pathology very quickly...

Going to the doctor is not that expensive...between 40-80chf. In Australia we pay $40, so not much difference - it's the medications that are very expensive compared to what I am used to paying.

We budget 50chf a month for the kids to cover their 10% franchise, and at least 100-200chf a month for medical expenses for my husband and I - for the first 3 years I managed to pretty much avoid the doctor except for things that aren't covered anyway, but am just about to change to the lowest franchise because I really need to start considering my health and wellbeing more...

I think at some point you have to consider your health valuable, and be prepared to pay the costs for the sake of your wellbeing - a colleague of mine avoided the doctor all year, and was sick several weeks and couldn't do her job very well, and ended up quitting her job and having a stint in hospital...from the outside looking in, to spend those 100-200chf a month would have been a much better investment...
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Old 25.09.2011, 20:09
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

There's definitely a cold going around at the moment. Any chance you may be suffering from an allergy as well?
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Old 25.09.2011, 20:19
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

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2. Whats the cheapest way I can get out of this? I don't want to go to the doctor because I heard it costs an arm and a leg. Any ideas/products to help make my body adapt easier?
You say you are studying so would that mean you have student health insurance? I guess the excess you would have to pay won't be so high but in any case a trip to the doctor to diagnose / treat a fluey-type ailment shouldn't cost so much.
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Old 25.09.2011, 20:24
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

Sorry to hear that you’re feeling so bad, that's not what you want in your first few weeks in a new place.

I grew up in Hong Kong and when I moved back to the UK I suffered similar (but much milder) symptoms to you (including dry skin - I guess from the change in water and humidity). It took about a month for my body to get completely used to it, but I did in the end. It sounds like your flu like symptoms might actually be the flu though, in which case that might explain why you’re feeling so rotten!

Hope your body adjusts soon and that you start to enjoy living in this gorgeous place

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Old 25.09.2011, 20:32
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

Inhalations really help. Get some herbal eucalyptus drops from the drugstore or chemist- put a few in a large bowl and top up with boiling water - towel over you head and breathe deeply- with your nose, 1 nostril at a time, and then with your mouth. It really works.

You can also buy special drops from the chemist- they are expensive, but you only use a few drops - made from lots and lots of traditional medicinal herbs. Sold in small bottles and called 'CARMOL' - we sear by them in this house, and take some as soon as we feel a tingle in throat or nose. About 10 to 12 drops in a mug, top up with hot water and drink as hot as poss. If it lasts for more than 10 days- do see a doctor. Most sore throats, etc, are viral - but bacterial infections might require anti-biotics. Going to the doctor is NOT that expensive really. But you know of course that you need to have medical insurance by law here.

Carmol Drops 40 ml €8 Already after 10 drops, you can feel the healing power of the mixture from the essential oils of ten selected valuable officinal herbs.
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Old 25.09.2011, 20:52
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

hey guys,

thank you for the very helpful responses. so i went out today and walked by the lake for a good many hours in the fresh air. i already feel much better.

im a little hesitent about buying a humidifier although i know it will do me good. prefer my body to toughen up against the dryness in time, rather than pamper it with the comfort of humidity. but ill see, i might have to buy it if things get really bad.

thx again for all the tips/product recommendations. I will see how it goes within the next few days and I might end up buying some of the stuff mentioned here or going to the doctor in the worst case.

Have a great week ahead everyone!
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Old 25.09.2011, 21:02
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Re: Help! Sick in Switzerland!!!

Bravo - pushing yourself to go out for a walk and fresh air can be the very best way to feel better. When the central heating comes on in your building - just wet a towel and put it on the radiator to act as a humidifier- but make sure there is no wall paper behind, as it would steam it and lift it (very few places have wall paper, so it should be ok). When the towel is dry, wet again and replace on radiator.
What a lovely day - enough to lift the spirits. Hope you feel better day by day next week.
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