Forget Calgon: Epsom Salt…Take Me Away!

Now THAT was a dated reference. If you didn’t already figure out my age, you now have a clue, huh?! The classic 80s commercial hilariously captures a woman in the most hectic part of her day, pleading for the famous soap to “take her away,” which it does in the next scene as she luxuriously bathes (behind a major camera filter) in a deep tub of bubbles. Women have been quoting that commercial for years, so I guess it did resonate back in the 80s and obviously still does, although I have no idea if they still make Calgon or not. Anyone know?

I would like to make the Calgon case for another, less expensive, and all-natural bath product, whose benefits harken back to the 1800s: epsom salt. I’ll be honest; we are not big bath takers at my house. We are shower people…who has time for baths anymore? But when my son was having asthma issues and our doctor suggested epsom salt baths, we were ready to try anything.

When I purchased the epsom salts, which you can get at any grocery store or drug store/pharmacy, I couldn’t believe the bag only cost a few bucks! As much as we spend on allergy and asthma meds, this was a welcomed surprise. We got the bag home and started reading the directions and became confused right away. It was telling us to use it for constipation! I continued to study the bag and realized that some people apparently drink it for that issue, and was quite relieved that a bath in it would NOT produce a laxative effect. That would have been…unfortunate.

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Fortunately, it couldn’t be simpler. All you do is pour in a cup or so in a running bath and then soak in it for 10 minutes or how ever long you can. The magic ingredient is magnesium. Magnesium is an anti-inflammatory that helps basically everything. Muscle soreness, pain of most any kind, and most important for us, airway inflammation. You can feel it working and it is a fantastic sensation. I feel it in my feet the most, so I guess the ol’ dogs are barking more than I realized at the end of the day. It relaxes you and when you get out, you will breathe better and any muscle soreness will be relieved. If you have pain in your neck or shoulder or somewhere the bath can’t reach, you can also soak a washcloth in the solution and apply it several times to the sore area. My son loves one of these baths after rough football practices and games; it helps his breathing and his bruised and battered body. Football players are crazy, no?! But I love ’em.

If you haven’t given it a try, see what you think. You can take magnesium in pill form if don’t have time for a bath, but if you do have time, there’s nothing more relaxing than soaking in epsom salt. You can get peppermint scented, lavender scented, or unscented. I either get unscented (strong scents can trigger our asthma) and add a bit of Aveeno lavender bubble bath (the lavender helps with sleep, too), or the peppermint, which is lightly scented and refreshing. And just to be clear: it’s not just for athletes battling and beating asthma — it works great for everyone!

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I usually use the store brand, but who knew? Calgon Epsom Salt! Take Me Away…

Click here for more epsom salt info from the Epsom Salt Council!

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Daily Antihistamines and Fatigue

What daily antihistamine works best for you or your athlete?

I’ve learned that everyone has a favorite or a least favorite. I’ve been advised by my doctor to switch it up if you’re on one year-round. I use Allegra during problem times (spring and fall) and have used either Claritin or Zyrtec during summer and winter. I don’t feel like Claritin does that much and Zyrtec definitely makes me more tired, but it works. Allegra seems to be the most effective and least fatigue-inducing.

Fatigue is definitely a side effect of allergies and asthma. The days before I notice having breathing issues, I get so tired — to-my-bones kind of tired. I hate being tired, especially when I’m trying to be sporty. It’s more than just end-of-the-day tired. It’s all encompassing and you just want to go to sleep. That’s usually how I know I”m about to have breathing issues. So to use a daily antihistamine that adds to the tired is not good for me.

The best bet is to be sure you and your athlete are getting to bed at a decent time. That is often easier said than done, with sports practices, games, and homework contributing to many late nights. Sometimes I schedule in some down time on the weekends, which can be challenging, but we all need to chill out and let our bodies and minds have a break. Drinking lots of water helps keep your airways clear and helps detox the body, which also will help to maintain energy levels. I am not a huge fan of drinking water, especially in cold weather, so I have started drinking a mixture of 1 part Gatorade to 3 parts water. I don’t like straight Gatorade and don’t want all of the calories, but just that little bit of flavor helps me drink more water and less caffeine during the day. Your athlete might like that mixture as well…I really think I should market it! I’m a Georgia Bulldog so I wouldn’t call it Gator Water…maybe Gator Hater Water? 🙂 Whatever you call it and whoever you root for, it’s delicious, hydrating, and healthy.

Here’s to staying hydrated this winter and fighting that medicine-related fatigue! Stay tough, athletes! Spring is not that far away…