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Respiratory bugs and chicken soup

April 8, 2013
by Kathleen Mears
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With the arrival of spring, many residents and staff are coughing and suffering from other respiratory symptoms. We do not know if it is a late-season cold or the "real deal” flu, but many of us have been miserable. My bout began two weeks ago, starting with a sore throat that later turned into the drips. Then it went straight to bronchitis.

Cough medicine made me feel well enough to leave the facility. While out, I had a bowl of chicken soup and I was amazed how it cleared my nose and loosened my cough.

It has been proven that chicken soup helps respiratory symptoms. Steam from the hot bowl opens up the upper respiratory system. The chicken broth slows the growth of white blood cells which cause excess mucus.

Since I have a high risk for pneumonia, I was put on an antibiotic and expectorant a couple of days ago and my symptoms are improving.

Nevertheless, I have been frustrated at dietary because chicken soup was not available when I had an upset stomach or cold symptoms. During my first couple of years in a facility when I did not feel like eating the regular menu all I could get was a salty chicken broth.

I know that the broth was supposed to rehydrate me and be light on my stomach. But the taste was so bad I had a hard time getting it down. I always wondered why it could not taste better.

For a few years one facility where I lived had individual cans of chicken rice soup available. When I was not feeling up to par, I had that soup with crackers, which soothed me and gave me nutrition.

I think it would be easy for nursing homes to come up with a quick recipe for chicken soup for residents who are not feeling well. Some fast-food restaurants serve chicken soup. So I know a quicker version is out there.

Since I have had other good soups here, I know there may be a cook who would make chicken soup with low-sodium chicken broth, vegetables and noodles. Maybe it could be frozen in individual bags so it would be available when a resident is under the weather.

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Kathleen Mears

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Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...