Easy Tips to Recover from the Flu Fast

Learn proven strategies to recover from the flu quickly with these easy tips covering natural remedies, proper rest, hydration, and the best foods for speeding up healing.

The flu is easily spread and can make you very sick. It’s caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms last around a week. The worst symptoms are typically felt for two to three days.1 After that, you might feel tired, weak, and still cough for another week. To get better quickly, rest enough, drink plenty of water, and eat well. You may also take antiviral drugs within 48 hours of getting sick to help. This can make the flu shorter and less severe.1

Key Takeaways

  • Flu symptoms typically last about a week, with the most severe symptoms occurring for 2-3 days.
  • Taking antiviral medication within 48 hours of symptom onset can reduce the duration of flu by about a day.
  • Elderberry and honey can help alleviate flu symptoms like cough and cold.
  • Staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and eating a healthy diet are crucial for a fast recovery.
  • Seeking medical attention is important for severe flu symptoms or high-risk individuals.

Stay at Home and Rest

Resting at home is crucial to battling the flu.2 When flu symptoms hit, they can make you feel terrible. These signs often include a dry cough, fever, and more.2 It’s important to stop your usual activities. Your body needs time to fight off the flu.2 When you’re sick, sleep and rest as much as you can.

Give Your Body Time to Fight the Virus

By staying home, you help yourself recover. You also protect others from getting sick. This is especially important for the first day you feel the flu.1 Rest is key in beating the flu effectively.

Avoid Spreading the Flu to Others

When you’re sick, keep your distance and clean often-touched things. By focusing on getting well, you lower the flu risk for everyone around you.

Stay Hydrated

It’s key to drink lots of fluids when fighting the flu. The flu can bring high fever, sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea. These issues can cause dehydration.1 To feel better, drink water, herbal teas, and tea with honey. These will add back lost fluids and soothe your symptoms.3 It’s best to steer clear of alcohol and caffeine. They make dehydration worse and can cause more inflammation.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Keeping hydrated helps your body work well and tackle the flu.3 Water makes up most of our body’s fluids, and our brains are mostly water too.3 It’s important to drink water, herbal teas, and drinks without caffeine. This can rehydrate you after symptoms like fever, sweating, and diarrhea.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

Skipping that coffee or cocktail might not be easy, but it’s crucial when you have the flu. Alcohol and caffeine can dry you out more, making symptoms linger and your recovery slower.3 Dehydration causes dizziness, headaches, and muscle cramps. It makes it tough for your body to beat the flu.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is like a magic potion for your body, especially when you have the flu.2 It’s important to rest a lot when you’re sick.2 Try to sleep early, stay in bed longer, and maybe take naps. This gives your body extra time to heal.4 For adults, it’s key to get more than 7-9 hours of sleep for a good recovery.4

Go to Bed Early and Sleep In

Putting sleep first not only fights off the flu but also helps avoid serious complications.2

Take Naps During the Day

Ease Breathing Discomfort

Breathing gets tough when you have the flu. You might have a stuffy nose and cough a lot. A humidifier or vaporizer can really help. They put moisture in the air. This eases congestion, helping you breathe better.5

Use a Humidifier or Vaporizer

Having a humidifier or vaporizer going in your room soothes your breathing.5 Mist humidifiers are great for this. They add moisture to dry air, easing coughs and congestion. So, you can clear out mucus easier and breathe better.1

Take a Steamy Shower Before Bed

Take a steamy shower or bath before bed to breathe better. A hot shower fills the air with moist warmth, which is great for1 loosening mucus. It also calms your airways, helping you breathe and sleep well all night.

Use humidifier for flu

Eat Healthy Foods

After being sick with the flu, your body needs help to recover. It’s key to eat foods that give your body the nutrients it needs.6 Fruits and veggies are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These help your immune system and speed recovery.6 Spinach and kale, for example, offer vitamins A, C, E, and K. This can make your body stronger against the flu.6 Foods high in vitamin C, like oranges and strawberries, fight flu symptoms.7

Eating lean proteins, such as turkey or chicken, can also boost your recovery.6 Oatmeal is a good choice too. It’s got nutrients like copper, iron, and zinc, along with fiber. When you’re down with the flu, these nutrients are very helpful.6 Remember, if you’re not very hungry, try to eat small meals. This ensures your body has what it needs to heal.6

Recommended Foods for Flu RecoveryFoods and Drinks to Avoid
  • Lean turkey or chicken
  • Chicken soup
  • Bananas
  • Toast
  • Non-flavored crackers
  • Orange juice
  • Sports drinks
  • Vegetable juices
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Black or green tea
  • Popsicles made with 100% fruit juice
  • Eggs
  • Apples
  • Garlic, ginger, cinnamon, peppermint, thyme
  • Milk
  • Soda
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Kombucha
  • Yogurt (initially)
  • Ice cream
  • Spicy foods
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8 Adults should drink plenty of fluids, with water as top choice. They can also have Pedialyte, tea, or non-sugar sports drinks.8 It’s best to avoid alcohol and caffeine. These can let your body keep moisture and its defenses up.7 Finally, herbal tea at night can ease coughing in children. Garlic is another powerhouse, helping to strengthen the immune system.7

7 Comfort foods like soup are great after the flu. They give you energy and the stuff your body needs to heal. But, stay away from dairy, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and spicy treats. These can make your flu last longer and feel worse.7

How to Recover from the Flu Quickly?

To bounce back from the flu fast, taking antiviral medicines early is key. It’s best to start these within 48 hours of feeling sick. Medicines like Tamiflu or Xofluza stop the flu virus from spreading. This can make the illness less severe and shorter.1

Start Antiviral Medication Within 48 Hours

Starting antiviral drugs within 48 hours is backed by research. It can cut down your sick days by about one and make symptoms milder.1 These drugs, Tamiflu and Xofluza, work best when taken early, within two days of getting sick.1

Seek Medical Attention for High-Risk Groups

If you’re at a higher risk, like being older, pregnant, or having health issues, see a doctor right away. These people need extra care and might need special treatments for a quicker recovery and to prevent complications.2

Use Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter medications help with over-the-counter flu medications symptoms. They include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). These meds reduce pain, fever, and body aches.9 They’re well-known for lessening muscle pains and headaches pain relief for fluduring flu recovery.9

Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers

Decongestants help clear your nose and lower sinus pressure. One example is sudoephedrine (Sudafed).10 For coughs, dextromethorphan (Robitussin) eases a dry cough. Expectorants thin out thick mucus.10 Make sure to follow dosage advice and not mix certain meds for your safety.

Decongestants and Cough Suppressants

Using these meds can briefly ease flu signs. But always follow the recommended use and be careful, especially with kids.10 It’s wise to check with a doctor to map out the best treatment plan.

Try Natural Remedies

Natural remedies can help with flu symptoms.11 Elderberry is known to help with colds and the flu. Some studies show it might make sickness milder and shorter.11 Honey is great for a sore throat or cough. You can add it to tea or eat it plain. Remember, use these with regular medicine, not instead of it.

Elderberry for Symptom Relief

11 In a study, taking elderberry extract for 3 days cut flu symptom days in half. This old remedy is used for colds and flu. It might make flu symptoms easier and the sickness shorter.

Honey to Soothe a Cough

Honey helps with a cough or sore throat from the flu.12 You can eat it on its own or with tea. This brings comfort while you recover from the flu.

Prevent Spreading the Flu

While getting over the flu, make sure you stop spreading it to others.13 Wash your hands a lot to keep germs away.13 And when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose. This stops the sickness from spreading too.13 It’s also key to clean things you touch often. This helps stop illnesses from passing on to others.

Wash Hands Frequently

Keep washing your hands with water and soap, especially after you cough or sneeze.13 Doing this helps a lot in preventing the [how to stop spreading flu] and keeping those around you safe.

Disinfect Surfaces Regularly

It’s important to clean surfaces like doorknobs, remotes, and phones. This kills the flu virus and prevents its [disinfecting for flu] spread.13 Make sure to clean these areas often to lower the risk of others getting sick.

Get a Flu Shot Annually

Getting your flu shot every year is the best defense against the flu.14 Each year, the flu vaccine is updated to fight new flu strains. So, it’s crucial to get a shot yearly.14

When the vaccine closely matches the real flu viruses, it can lower your risk by 40% to 60%.14 If you’ve already had the flu, you should still get the shot. It can protect you from other flu types.14

The flu shot also helps prevent severe illness or the need for hospital care.14

Everyone 6 months and older in the U.S. should get the flu shot yearly, according to the CDC.14 Some groups, like pregnant folks, young kids, and those with certain health issues, are at higher risk. They need the flu shot more.14

The CDC also warns that very obese people face more flu risks. This makes vaccination critical for them.14

Kids from 6 months to 8 years might need two shots first. This shows why sticking to the vaccine schedule is important for them.14

Studies prove the flu vaccine is safe and doesn’t cause flu or increase COVID-19 risks.14

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The CDC says it’s okay to get both flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. Doing this helps keep you safe from both diseases.14

15 In one season, flu shots prevented millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths.15 The vaccine also made a big difference for kids’ and older adults’ health.15

Getting the flu shot is especially important for kids. It can prevent serious flu cases for them.15

For everyone, the flu shot can make the illness less severe if you still get sick. So, it’s worth it.15

Flu shots make it less likely for you to visit the doctor for a flu. They can cut this risk by 40% to 60%.15

A recent study found that vaccinated adults who got really sick from the flu were less likely to need the ICU. They were also less likely to die.15

Getting the vaccine means you spend fewer days in the hospital if you do get sick. With the shot, the hospital stay is about four days shorter.15

People rarely have severe reactions to the flu shot. It’s usually just soreness or mild sickness that goes away quickly.15

Extremely rare risks include Guillain-Barre syndrome, but it’s very unlikely. Most side effects are mild and short-lived.15

The best time to get the flu shot is in the fall, by the end of October. It’s a smart move for everyone over 6 months old.

Stay Positive

It’s tough to handle physical symptoms while you’re sick. But keeping a positive mind can help you heal.1 A positive mindset won’t cure your stuffy nose or fever right away. Nonetheless, it will help you deal with the flu’s challenges and boost your natural healing process. Being optimistic when unwell is key to battling the flu.

A positive outlook is crucial for your wellbeing. It plays a major role in getting better. Plus, it helps when you’re trying to keep [optimistic when feeling down].

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Try to stay positive, especially when flu symptoms are at their worst.1 Instead of focusing on how bad you feel, look at the progress you’re making. This small shift can help a lot in recovering.

Keep yourself happy with things you enjoy. Also, spend time with friends and family who support you. This can keep you motivated and optimistic. With the right mindset, your body will recover better from the flu.

Seek Medical Attention for Severe Symptoms

Most flu symptoms can be handled at home with rest, water, and medicine you can buy without a prescription. But you should keep an eye out for worse symptoms that need quick medical help.16 A high fever that goes over 41 degrees Celsius is serious. It could mean the flu is causing big problems, especially for babies, toddlers, the elderly, and people with serious health issues.16

Watch for Emergency Warning Signs

It’s important to pay attention if breath gets hard, chest hurts, or if you suddenly feel dizzy. These could show the flu is causing serious issues that need fast medical care.17 Getting help early can stop these severe problems from getting worse, maybe avoiding a hospital stay.

Protect High-Risk Groups

17 Older adults and kids face a bigger risk of severe flu symptoms. If they show worrying signs, it’s essential to get medical help fast.16 For these groups, the flu can even be life-threatening. So, acting quickly is very important.

Stay Propped Up

It’s hard to sit and breathe right when you have the flu. Your nose gets stuffy, and you cough a lot.2 To breathe a bit easier and sleep better, try using extra pillows to lift your head.2 Raising your head helps ease the pressure in your sinuses. This makes breathing easier, especially after a warm, steamy shower.2

Use Extra Pillows to Elevate Head

Adding pillows beneath you can raise your upper body. It’s a quick way to feel better and breathe easier with the flu.2 This change gives you some comfort while you recover.2

Drink Herbal Teas

Drinking warm herbal teas can ease various flu symptoms. Types like chamomile or ginger tea18 can be very helpful. They soothe sore throats, reduce coughing, and keep you hydrated. The heat from these teas can loosen mucus. This brings comfort as you heal.

Soothe Symptoms with Warm Liquids

Teas with ingredients like Echinacea, green tea, elderberries, and peppermint18,19,20 can target flu symptoms. They are rich in antioxidants and help fight inflammation. These teas can boost your immune system. This might help you recover faster and ease symptoms like coughs and sore throats.

Adding herbal teas to your day, like chamomile, ginger, and licorice root18,20, can provide comfort during the flu. They help you stay hydrated and sleep better, which is key for getting well quickly.18,20

Rest and Let Your Body Heal

The key to fighting the flu is giving your body enough rest.1 It usually takes about a week to get better, with the worst symptoms in the first few days.1 So, staying home, sleeping a lot, and not doing hard things helps a lot.2 Rest is super important for getting well fast.2

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To get better soon, focus on rest and drinking plenty of water.1 The worst flu symptoms happen first and get better within a week.1 By resting and not being too active, you let your body fight the virus well.2 Also, drink lots of water to help your body heal.2


Getting over the flu takes time and effort. But if you remember to rest and drink plenty of fluids, things will get better. It’s also important to eat well and see a doctor if you’re not getting any better. By caring for yourself the right way, you’ll recover faster. Did you know, over 200,000 Americans need hospital stays because of flu complications each year? The flu pandemic also leads to deaths worldwide. So, it’s serious.

Taking antiviral drugs like Tamiflu helps, but only if you start them within 48 hours of feeling sick.21 Studies say these drugs work well and are safe. They help lessen how much virus spreads and make you feel less sick.22

While you’re getting better, drink lots of water. Deal with symptoms like fever and body aches. You can use some over-the-counter medicine too. Remember to rest. Doing these things helps you recover and stops the flu from spreading to others.

To bounce back from the flu quickly, listen to your body and keep a positive attitude. Follow the tips in this article to help your body heal. By caring for yourself, you’ll be back to your usual routine before you know it.


How can I recover from the flu quickly?

Resting, staying hydrated, and eating right are key to a quick flu recovery. It’s also helpful to take antiviral drugs within 48 hours of feeling sick.

Why is it important to stay at home and rest when recovering from the flu?

Resting at home gives your body the chance to fight off the flu. This is crucial because it needs all its energy to heal. This also stops the flu from spreading to others, especially those who could get very sick.

How can I stay hydrated while recovering from the flu?

Drink lots of fluids like water and herbal teas to stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol and caffeine since they can make flu symptoms worse.

Why is sleep important for flu recovery?

Sleep is your body’s top way to heal from the flu. Getting more sleep, napping, and going to bed early all help your recovery. This also lowers the chance of serious flu issues.

How can I ease breathing discomfort during the flu?

A humidifier adds moisture to the air and can help. Also, taking a steamy shower before bed makes breathing easier and improves sleep.

What types of foods should I eat to recover from the flu?

Fresh fruits and veggies are vital for a good recovery. They give your body what it needs to fight the flu. Eating lean proteins also keeps your strength up.

When should I take antiviral medications for the flu?

If you can, take antiviral drugs within two days of getting sick. This can make the illness milder and not last as long. Those who might have serious flu issues need to see a doctor for proper care.

What over-the-counter medications can help with flu symptoms?

Pain, congestion, and cough meds can help feel better. But, it’s vital to check the labels and make sure they’re safe together.

What natural remedies can help with flu recovery?

Elderberry and honey can ease flu signs. But remember, they should be used with traditional medical help, not on their own.

How can I prevent spreading the flu to others?

Washing hands, cleaning things you touch a lot, and staying home when you’re sick all help to not spread the flu.

Why is it important to get the flu vaccine annually?

Getting a flu shot each year keeps you safe. It guards against different flu types, even if you’ve had the flu recently.

How can a positive attitude help with flu recovery?

Staying positive can help you face the challenges of the flu. It might even help in your body’s fight to get better.

When should I seek medical attention for flu symptoms?

If you feel very sick, with hard breathing or chest pain, get help. This could be a sign of serious flu problems, especially for high-risk people.

How can I improve my breathing while recovering from the flu?

Use extra pillows to lift your head. It lessens sinus pressure and makes it easier to breathe and rest.

What type of warm, soothing liquids can provide relief for flu symptoms?

Drinking herbal teas like chamomile or ginger can soothe your throat and calming cough. The heat also helps clear your nose and feels nice.

What is the most important thing to do when recovering from the flu?

The number one thing is to give your body time and rest to fight the flu. Stay at home, sleep a lot, and avoid too much physical activity. This way, you help your body heal and get back to normal.

Source Links

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  17. https://www.healthpartners.com/blog/what-to-do-if-you-have-the-flu/
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