How to Treat the Flu? Effective Remedies and Tips

How to Treat the Flu? Effective Remedies and Tips. Get Relief from Flu Symptoms with Proper Medication, Rest, and Hydration. Prevent Complications.

The flu brings on many uncomfortable symptoms. These include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and tiredness.1

Although there isn’t a cure for the flu, there are ways to ease the symptoms. This guide will cover home remedies, natural treatments, and tips for avoiding the flu in the first place. It’s designed to help you make it through flu season as smoothly as possible.

Key Takeaways

  • The flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.1
  • Chicken soup contains nutrients that may support the immune system and influence the movement of neutrophils in the body.2
  • Vitamin C plays an important role in supporting the immune system and may slightly shorten the duration of a cold.2
  • Staying hydrated, getting enough rest, and following a nutritious diet can help boost the immune system.2
  • Flu medications work best when taken within 48 hours of first symptoms.3

Hydration: Key to Flu Recovery

When fighting the flu, keeping hydrated is super important. The flu can make you lose fluids fast.4 Symptoms like fever, vomiting, and diarrhea can lead to dehydration quickly.4

For adults, the goal is to drink at least 64 ounces of fluids every day.4 Signs that you might be dehydrated include having dark urine, feeling tired, and experiencing muscle cramps.4

It’s not always easy to tell when a child needs more to drink.4 Watch out for signs like not crying tears, having dry diapers, and being too tired.4

Recommended Fluid Intake

According to Austin, hitting the 64 ounces mark is a good goal. But, if you have health issues, talking to a doctor first is smart.4

Water is the best drink for getting better from the flu. Other good options are Pedialyte, tea, and certain sports drinks.4 Try to stay away from alcohol and drinks with caffeine. They make you lose even more fluid and can mess with your immune system.4

Hydrating Beverages

To replace what you’ve lost when sick, water, juices, and drinks with electrolytes are great.4 When recovering from the flu, 100% orange juice, low-sugar sports drinks, and vegetable juice are top picks.4

Vitamin C: Boosting Your Immunity

Vitamin C is crucial for our immune system. It doesn’t stop the flu completely, but it can make the sickness milder and shorter.5 You can get plenty of vitamin C from foods like oranges, red peppers, and broccoli.5 Just be careful not to take too much vitamin C. Too high a dose can have bad effects.

Natural Sources of Vitamin C

Eating things rich in vitamin C helps boost your immune system.6 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has guidelines on how much we need daily. This varies from 40 mg for babies under 6 months up to 75 to 90 mg for adults.6 But, some places and health issues could mean you need more vitamin C.6

Potential Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been proven to fight off colds and help with chest infections.7 Along with vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and certain fats, it can lower how often we catch these illnesses.7 For those who smoke, vitamin C might help the heart work better.7 It’s also seen as important for COVID-19 patients to boost their immune response.7

Rest: Allowing Your Body to Heal

Rest is key for flu recovery.1 It lets your immune system work better. This way, your body can focus on beating the flu.8 The worst flu symptoms last about 2-3 days. Rest during this time helps your body heal naturally, reducing these symptoms.8 Austin says it’s important to slow down and rest, maybe staying in bed all day. Putting off chores and activities can also speed up your recovery.

resting during flu

Proper rest boosts your immune system and helps you get better.1 The flu shot lowers the chance of severe outcomes. It also makes symptoms less strong.8 When you’re sick, it’s best to stay home. This helps you recover and stops the flu from spreading to others.8 Give your body enough rest. This way, it can beat the flu and get you back on your feet quicker.

Honey and Tea: So the Remedy

Fighting the flu means looking for natural help for a sore throat and cough. Honey and tea are amazing choices. They have special powers to calm and help our bodies when we’re sick.

Benefits of Honey

Honey is famous for fighting off germs and viruses. It helps a lot when we’re trying to beat the flu.2 Plus, honey acts like a cough medicine. It calms down a rough cough.2 Mixing honey into a cup of warm tea makes a great drink. It not only feels good but also keeps the throat moist.

Ginger and Cinnamon Tea

Another good drink for flu symptoms is ginger or cinnamon tea. Ginger cuts down on swelling, which eases a sore throat.9 Cinnamon fights off germs, helping you combat the flu.2 Mixing these with honey makes a powerful and tasty flu fighter.

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Remember, honey can be dangerous for babies under 12 months because of the risk of botulism. Before trying new flu remedies, talk to a doctor.

Chicken Soup: A Comforting Classic

Chicken soup is not just a tasty dish; it helps when you’re sick with a cold or flu. It keeps you hydrated and thins mucus. The soup’s nutrients may lower inflammation, making you feel better.10 Some research also shows that it slows down a certain type of white blood cell’s movement, aiding in getting better.10

Nutritional Benefits of Chicken Soup

A delicious chicken noodle soup is suggested when fighting off the flu. It calls for ingredients like olive oil, mirepoix, ginger, and garlic.10 The recipe includes herbs, turmeric, and adobo for flavor without too much salt.

It’s good to use low-sodium broth to keep the salt level down.10 Ingredients such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, chicken, and lemon are known to boost your immune system. Plus, they help reduce inflammation which is good when you’re ill.10 Chicken soup is not only tasty but also hydrating. It comforts sore throats and helps with stuffy noses.10

Homemade vs. Store-Bought Soup

Making your chicken soup at home is better than buying it. This way, you control what goes in, avoiding too much salt.10 The recipe includes slightly undercooked egg noodles for a great bite. Shredded chicken is an important protein, easily poached at home or bought cooked.10 Lemon zest and juice at the end add a nice, sour kick to the soup.10

11 Chicken Noodle Soup is warm and comforting, perfect for the flu season.11 It’s easy to make, saving you time in the kitchen.11 The soup is full of antioxidants and nutrients important for your health.11 Homemade broth, in particular, is praised for its nourishing bone marrow.11 Hot soup can also help clear your nose, good for allergies.11 This guide includes tips on cooking and storing soup, catering to various cooking skills.11 There’s also info on the soup’s nutrition, showing its health benefits.11

Aromatherapy: Easing Congestion

Aromatherapy helps with flu congestion and breathing issues. Smelling oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and camphor can clear mucus. These oils may also fight the flu, making you more comfortable.12

Essential Oils for Respiratory Relief

Applying a little menthol or camphor salve around your nose helps too.12 A 2014 study on essential oils found they have many benefits. They can fight bacteria, fungi, and viruses. But be careful using them, especially with kids. Always read and follow the instructions.12

Menthol and Camphor Salves

13Peppermint oil, with menthol, acts as a decongestant and lowers fever. A study in 2003 even showed it fights viruses.13 The Holistic Aromatherapy association advises on essential oils for colds. They suggest methods such as inhaling steam. Always mix these oils with other oils to protect your skin.13 Never use them directly on your skin. It can lead to burns or rashes.13

How to Treat the Flu? Steamy Showers and Saunas

Stepping into a steamy shower or sauna can help with flu symptoms like congestion. This is because the warm, moist air loosens mucus. It makes it easier to get rid of.14 Using a steam room is also a good way to prevent colds and flus. Doctors suggest going for a session 4-7 times every week.14 Various cultures, from the Japanese to the Mayans, have used steam rooms for health reasons for ages.14

Benefits of Steam Inhalation

14 Steam rooms help your body fight off sickness by making more white blood cells.14 They also help with getting rid of toxins, keeping your body clean.15 And don’t forget, the warm, moist air from a steam room can clear up your nose. It also soothes any inflammation in your chest.

Safety Precautions

Austin has a neat idea for those without a steam room. He suggests making a “steam tent” by putting a towel over your head and a pot of hot water. Just make sure to be careful, especially if you’re feeling weak or dizzy from the flu. You don’t want to slip and fall.

Gargling Warm Salt Water

Gargling with warm salt water can help a lot with a sore throat.16 It also cuts down on mucus. The salt water thins the mucus, making it easier to get rid of.17 Most sore throats that come with a cold go away by themselves in about a week.

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Relieving Sore Throat Pain

Doctors recommend salt water gargles for sore throats.16 A study from 2013 showed they might prevent getting sick again, better than flu shots in some cases.16 Gargling salt water daily can reduce the bad bacteria in your mouth, shown by a 2010 study.16 They also seem to help with canker sores, easing the pain and swelling.16

Proper Salt-to-Water Ratio

To use this method, mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Gargle but don’t swallow it.17 How often you gargle depends on how bad you feel. It’s usually best to do it 2-4 times a day.17 Doing it twice a day can really help, but don’t overdo it. Too much salt water can be bad for you.16

Elevating Your Head While Sleeping

Sleeping with your head raised helps ease flu-related nasal stuffiness and boosts drainage.18 It encourages mucus to move better, helping you breathe and sleep well.19

You can use an extra pillow or tilt the head of your bed for this method.18 Adding extra pillows or a wedge might lessen cold and flu symptoms like a stuffed nose.18 This small change stops too much mucus from draining and reduces discomfort while you rest.

Reduces CongestionElevating your head while sleeping can help prevent excess mucus drainage, making it easier to breathe.19
Improves DrainageBy keeping your head elevated, you can encourage mucus to drain more effectively, providing relief from nasal congestion.18
Promotes RestSleeping with your head elevated can help you get the quality rest your body needs to recover from the flu.18

Getting enough rest is vital for a strong immune response and overcoming the flu.19 Elevating your head in sleep can handle flu’s tough symptoms. It lets you rest and heal properly.

Nasal Irrigation: A Controversial Remedy

Nasal irrigation, like using a neti pot or saline rinse, is up for debate. It’s used to clear nasal congestion. But, it’s not without risks.20 Austin warns that talking to a doctor is smart before you try it. Using dirty water can make you very sick.21 When using a neti pot, always make sure the water is clean. This means it should be sterile or boiled then cooled.

Potential Benefits of Nasal Irrigation

21 In 2007, a review found that nasal saline irrigations are good for rhinosinusitis symptoms.21 Another study in 2004 looked at different irrigation methods and their effectiveness. It showed some were better than others (Wormald et al., 2004).21 An examination in 2002 used antifungal treatment for rhinosinusitis.21 It was found to help. A 2005 study tested hypertonic saline irrigations for chronic symptoms.21 It was also effective.21 For children with allergies, a 2012 study found saline irrigation helpful (Satdhabudha et al., 2012).

Safety Concerns and Precautions

20 Remember, antibiotics won’t help with cold or flu. They could even be harmful.20 Cold and flu symptoms usually improve after 7 to 10 days.20 Small amounts of alcohol might be fine but too much can hurt your immune system.21 In 2014, a comparison study looked at what nasal care systems patients liked best (Elmiyeh et al., 2014).21 A 2007 study focused on saline solutions for nasal health. It found they can help with clearing the nose (Hauptman & Ryan, 2007).21 A review in 2014 favored nasal saline irrigation over spray for chronic issues (van den Berg et al., 2014).

Herbal Supplements: Proceed with Caution

Some swear by echinacea and zinc for the flu. Yet, evidence is mixed on how well they work.22

Echinacea might cut cold symptoms by 30%22, and zinc by 10%-30%.22 But, these cures aren’t FDA-backed. Before you try them, talk to a doctor. They could mix badly with other drugs or harm you in other ways.22

Echinacea and Zinc

Finding the best herbal supplements for flu may take some try and see. Take elderberry extract. It slashed flu symptom days by half in a small test.22

Garlic might cut your cold risk if taken daily but doesn’t directly attack one.22 A North American ginseng mix during flu season could lower your flu chances and ease symptoms.22

Consulting Healthcare Providers

It’s key to watch your symptoms close when using herbal supplements. Talking to a healthcare provider is a must. They give advice on how safe and effective the herbs are, and if they mix well with other drugs.22

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This helps make sure the herbal supplements for flu you pick are safe and good for you.22

Flu Shots: Prevention is Key

The best way to dodge the flu is through an annual flu vaccine.23 In the 2019-2020 season, the vaccine kept 7 million from getting the flu. It also prevented 100,000 hospital stays and 7,000 deaths.23 With a match to the current flu strains, it cuts the need for a doctor’s visit by 40% to 60%.23

Importance of Annual Flu Vaccination

A flu shot helps protect those at special risk and lessens flu’s impact if you get it.23 For adults in the hospital with flu, being vaccinated means you’re less likely to go to the ICU. And you have a lower death rate.23 If you need hospital care for flu, being vaccinated means you’re less likely to go to the ICU. Plus, you typically spend fewer days in the hospital.23

Availability of Flu Shots

Getting a flu shot is easy. You can find them at healthcare spots, urgent cares, and pharmacies.24 The CDC says everyone from 6 months should get one.24 But, not if you’re allergic to the shot, expecting a baby, or if you’re under 17 and take aspirin.24


What are the most effective remedies and tips for treating the flu?

When you have the flu, remember to drink lots of water. Resting is also key. Vitamin C from fruits is great. Use honey and tea for your throat.Eating chicken soup helps a lot. Aromatherapy and steam can clear your nose. Gargling salt water soothes your throat. And keep your head up when you sleep.

Why is staying hydrated so crucial when recovering from the flu?

Hydration is key because flu symptoms deplete your body. Drink at least 64 ounces daily. Include water, juices, and drinks with electrolytes. This helps your body recover.

How can vitamin C help with flu recovery?

Vitamin C is vital for your immune system. It might not prevent the flu, but it can make symptoms milder. Fruits like oranges and vegetables are good sources.

Why is rest so important when recovering from the flu?

Sleeping a lot helps your immune system work better. It lets your body fight the virus. So, stay in bed if you need to. Your body’s healing is faster then.

How can honey and tea help with flu symptoms?

Honey and tea are great for a sore throat. Honey fights off bacteria and viruses. It’s a natural cough medicine. A warm tea with honey can also hydrate you.

What are the benefits of chicken soup for flu recovery?

Chicken soup works wonders. It thins mucus and keeps you hydrated. It also has nutrients that reduce inflammation. Make it at home for best results.

How can aromatherapy help with flu-related congestion?

Using certain oils can clear your nose. Oils like peppermint should only be sniffed. Be careful with how you use them, especially with kids.

How can steamy showers and saunas help with flu symptoms?

Warm, moist air helps you breathe better. Steam from a shower or a pot of hot water works. Just be careful not to fall if you’re feeling weak.

How can gargling with warm salt water help with the flu?

Warm salt water soothes your throat. It thins mucus too. Gargle a few times a day to feel better and prevent a worse sore throat.

How can elevating your head while sleeping help with flu symptoms?

Sleeping with your head up eases nasal congestion. It lets mucus drain better. This makes breathing easier and improves your sleep quality.

What are the potential benefits and concerns with nasal irrigation for the flu?

Nasal irrigation can clear your nose. But, water safety is vital. Always use clean, boiled water. Talk to a doctor before starting this.

What should I know about using herbal supplements to treat the flu?

Sometimes, herbs like echinacea help, but their success isn’t clear. Talk to your doctor before using them. They may not work well with all medicines.Choosing the right supplements can take time. Watch how your body reacts. If you see any bad signs, stop using them.

Why is getting an annual flu vaccination so important?

A flu shot each year keeps you from getting the flu. It’s especially important for older people or those with health issues. Vaccines also make the flu less severe if you catch it.

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