My best pillow ever

photo of wool stuffing

As someone who has neck trouble, back trouble, hip trouble and just body aches in general, I’ve always been a sucker for pillow advertising (mattresses too!) in hopes of sleeping better.

And I’m a sucker for down: pillows, comforters, toppers,whatever! I just love the smooshie feeling.

And I’m also a wash-n-wear girl, and that goes for pillows too. I like to feel like my bed is a haven and there are just too many gross out articles detailing what goes on in the covers at night! So I want to be able to wash my pillows regularly.

And if that wasn’t me being picky enough, I also want to buy local or American, aaaand I gotta be able to afford it!

It was a daunting task, but I did it! I found my best pillow ever!

Ta-da!

photo of wool stuffing
The fluffy wool makes the best pillow ever

I now have wool stuffed pillows that are the best pillows I’ve ever used.

I love these because they are smooshie and formable, and they support my extra heavy head (side sleeper). Wool is also naturally dust mite resistant and naturally flame retardant, passing the gov’t test without needing chemicals applied.

It gets better!

I bought my wool from American farmers, and then I bought American made, seed-to-seam organic inside covers, cases and sheets.

It feels like I’m sleeping in a cloud!

And once a month or so, I dump the covers out and I air dry all my beautiful wool while I wash bedding. It dries out and fluffs up and then I put it all back in the covers and voila! Like brand new pillows!

I wasn’t sure how my hubs would feel about the new pillows but he just loves them! His sinus trouble  has been dramatically reduced and even better… No snoring!

And the cost for our 100% American-made two queen-sized, medium to heavy density pillows with covers was less than two similar pillows at IKEA filled with synthetic fiber.

So let’s see I hit all my needs:

Cost-check, natural-check, smooshie but firm enough-check, American-made–double check, and washable with hygienic properties-check check check!!

I’m so giddy over a pillow!! And how do I sleep? Awesome. If my neck starts bothering me, I firm up or smoosh down and presto–back to dreamland.

Cheers to motherhood FTW!

Love,

Momma

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Tea tree for cold sore part 3

so this is the end of day 7 and I’m very happy with how well tea tree oil worked on my cold sore:

Day 7 of Tee Tree Oil and my lip is all healed up!
Day 7 of Tea Tree Oil and my lip is all healed up!

By now it’s mostly healed up, and just slightly tender. I believe it’ll be completely healed by tomorrow night.

I will be using Tea Tree Oil as my go to method from now on!

A couple notes from this experience:

1. I waited to start applying tea tree until late in the day after I felt my lip getting buzzy/fat feeling. Normally, my lip gets tender the day before the buzzy starts. Like, where if I accidentally scrape my tooth across it, it hurts a bit.

That is my first real sign of a cold sore, and from now on, instead of ignoring that pain and hoping it goes away without blowing out into a sore, I will treat that like a 3-alarm fire and get some tea tree oil on it pronto!

I believe that Tea Tree’s antiviral properties kill the virus so the sooner I can get it on, the less damage the virus can do to my lip. And it’s the damage (blister) that’s such a pain *literally* to deal with!

2. I went out in the sun & pool two days in a row for hours, which effectively re-activated the virus and increased the damage to my lip. Once I stayed inside or in the shade with total UV block for my face, the healing progressed quickly.

Going forward, if I cannot prevent a blister from forming (note 1) then I will at least keep it covered and limit exposure to sun/water. Once the blister got wet, it was really hard to keep it adhered to my lip –which I try to do to keep my lip from bleeding, because that starts a cracking/drying cycle that takes longer to heal.

My lip did bleed a couple times after the outer blister slid off, but putting tea tree oil on helped to reform a barrier quickly.

3. I’m quite used to the feeling of TTO because I use it all the time on my nose and face. If I was new to it though, there’s a good chance it might sting, especially if I put on a lip raw from a cold sore. In that case, I’d mix it into a carrier oil, like maybe coconut oil since it’ll be close to my mouth and I’ll possibly swallow some.

4. The cost of the 1oz bottle I use was $9-ish, and I used 1 drop about 5 times a day, for 7 days. (So barely any) not sure how much that works out to be, but I imagine it’s pennies. That makes me very happy!

This is not medical advice for anyone. I shared my story for educational purposes only. Consult your own healthcare provider regarding your situation. I am not a doctor. 

Tea Tree oil for cold sore – part 2

on the second day of my erupted cold sore, third day since I first felt it tingling, I saw that this one had huge potential to get infected.

I had a hunch it was going to be bad because of the combo of sunshine + sun Burn + mega stress. In the past, I’ve had to take antibiotics for cold sores that had the swelling I was seeing in my lip.

But as you can see from my photos, the tea tree oil seems to have halted the virus quickly, and the whole day I was gently dabbing away crystals and sloughing off damaged skin.

I took care to keep a balm on my lips, and I really like the Burts Bees one, as it is thick and not liquid. A liquid has more chance to spread the virus. But I do make sure and warm it a bit in my hand before I apply it.

tea-tree-oil-for-cold-sore-day-2am
Morning of the next day – I dabbed some Tea Tree Oil on (gently) right after I snapped this.

I have to also acknowledge that, despite knowing the consequences, I had to go back to the pool and swim for a few hours. I wore a hat and faithfully reapplied my sunscreen and lip balm, but my lip still absorbed more UV.

Morning of Day 3, after spending the day before at the pool and applying Tea Tree Oil
Morning of Day 3, after spending the day before at the pool and applying Tea Tree Oil

So a blister did form at the end of the day, making it a bit harder to treat. I kept applying TTO but there was some pain from the blister. I put some aloe after sun gel with lidocaine on it and felt instant relief. The aloe formed a layer of blue over the top that I had to gently peel off later.

The biggest challenge is in keeping the blister on my lip as long as possible to keep the raw nerves protected. And so I just tap the oil on using my ring finger instead of rubbing it in.

I bought my tea tree oil locally, and Walgreens doesn’t sell it online, but Amazon does.

image of bottle of Tea Tree Oil
My little bottle of Tea Tree Oil is worth more than gold

And this is what I use over the oil to help protect my lip from more UV:

 

My trusty tube of lip balm
My trusty tube of lip balm

I had to go swimming on day 3 as well, and even though I took care again with a hat, shade and heavy-duty sunblock, just having a blister get wet makes it far less stable as a cover on my really raw cold sore:

End of third day of visible sore, and after 2 days of sun, swimming and Tea Tree Oil
End of third day of visible sore, and after 2 days of sun, swimming and Tea Tree Oil. It looked bad and felt worse, but it had stopped swelling and buzzing.

I’m pleased with how the oil has worked to speed the healing of my lip, even as I made it worse by going into the sun and a pool for 4 hours two days in a row.

On day 4 I stayed home and avoided going to the pool because my blister had come loose and my lip was bleeding a little. I just didn’t want to expose that fragile area to more UV and heat.

Now I’m on day five, stayed in again and all the swelling is gone. There is a slight scab where my lip bled yesterday, but it’s small enough I could cover it with lipstick now.

Going out in the sun was a bad idea. I honestly believe if I had stayed in on days two & three, the tea tree oil would have shrunk the sore without breaking the skin. (That’s my goal every time since it heals much faster.)

Tea Tree Oil for Cold Sores

image of cold sore on lip day 1

So I love the sun, and have been indulging a bit the last couple weeks with extra pool time. Except I have been lazy about putting sunblock on where I need it most: my lips!

Add to that a heavy dose of ex-husband child custody drama and you can imagine how not surprised I was to feel that oh-too-familiar buzzy, almost painful, “fat” feeling in my lower lip yesterday that means I’m totally getting a cold sore.

Darn. I was less than thrilled. See, when these little buggers get started, well they sorta take root. And then they can spread, or what my momma calls “going to seed.” And I’ve had that! Oh my, yes yes. Summertime, Ft Sill, OK, and I must’ve had 30 going on. Looked like gangrene. Seriously awful!

Being a lifelong cold sore sufferer, I truly have tried everything under the sun to prevent or shorten the agony, including suppressive doses of acyclovir and other pharmas, alcohol, bleach, campho phenique (will totally spread), Carmex, blistex, abreva, kanka, and lysine, just to name a few.

This time, I tried a new idea. And compared to everything else I’ve tried, if it works like I’m hoping, it might just be the trinity of “Good, Fast, & Cheap”!

I was out driving when I first got the buzzing in my lip, so I just put a little Burt’s Bees Chapstick on. I carry a tube of SPF 20 in my purse. Yeah, I know. An ounce of prevention. (I already confessed to being lazy.)

As soon as I got home, I grabbed an ice cube and held it on my lip for about a minute. I couldn’t take it longer.  Then I ran up to my bathroom and grabbed some tea tree oil (TTO) and put it straight on my lip.

I already use it regularly for my nose as I’m sun sensitive due to having Sjögrens Syndrome, so I’m used to the smell, fumes, etc. (it’s a bit strong if you’re not used to it.) I buy it at Walgreens for about $10 for a small bottle and its 100%. I don’t use a carrier oil.

I’ve had great success using TTO on several rough patches on my arms, nose, cheeks and chest in the past. I kept remembering about the studies I read that convinced me it would work, and keeping a positive mind about an outcome is 80% of success. So it’s my first go to for skin, especially for infection.

When I woke up today, I jumped out of bed (a lie–I more or less rolled over to hubs side so as to shorten the distance to the loo) and checked the mirror. The buzzing had blown out to a blister, so I rubbed more oil in. Gently though, cause it’s tender! And I went about my day. Every time I went to the bathroom, I dabbed some on.

When I was out driving again, I kept Burts Bees balm on my lip to keep it from drying out. And I tried not to mess with it–but my tongue gets curious and I found it licking my lip a few times.

Anyway, I went ahead and rubbed more in after dinner and at bedtime, which is when I put it on my nose too. I really rub it in, not to where it hurts, but enough that I feel like I’m getting it down into the cells more than laying it on the surface.

I took a pic to show how the blister looks today, the first day of a visible blister.

image of cold sore on lip day 1
First visible day, before treating with Tea Tree Oil

I’ll take another tomorrow night to see how the TTO is working out.