Getting the flu means feeling crummy and missing out on fun activities or work. Symptoms can make you feel fatigued, irritable, and without energy. Fortunately, you can feel better fast by fighting the flu using conventional methods and home remedies. Find out how you can get rid of the flu and feel better soon.
Symptoms of the Flu
The word “flu” is short for influenza, a disease caused by the influenza virus. The flu is a respiratory illness that is easily transmitted through the air. People who have the flu can infect other people and are encouraged to stay home and rest until the virus is eliminated.
The flu can affect anyone — even healthy individuals — but the disease is typically worse or features severe symptoms in young children and elderly adults. Symptoms of the disease are similar to the common cold although the flu tends to exhibit respiratory symptoms.
Flu symptoms include:
- Body ache
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Chest congestion
There are two ways to get rid of the flu: using natural remedies or following conventional treatment plans. Both methods offer relief from the flu with benefits and drawbacks to both approaches. Read on to find out more about how you can get rid of the flu fast.
Traditional Flu Treatment
Traditionally, the flu is treated using a variety of over-the-counter medications and antiviral drugs. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also recommends preventative measures that can help minimize the risk of contracting flu viruses. The most common preventative measure is getting a flu vaccine.
The flu vaccine is especially important for elderly and young individuals as well as those who are susceptible to the virus including nurses and people who work in crowded environments. The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for all individuals over the age of six months. The flu vaccine should be taken in the fall — a few weeks before the start of the flu season — as the vaccine takes a few weeks to be fully protective.
It’s important to note that the flu shot does not guarantee protection from all types of flu viruses. The vaccine is specially formulated each year to offer protection against the most common strains of flu. Contrary to claims of the anti-vaccine movement, the flu vaccine has few side effects. The most common include soreness at the injection site and minor flu symptoms. Pregnant women should consult a physician before getting the flu shot.
In addition to antiviral medication and vaccines, there are other preventative measures you can take to prevent contraction of the flu. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly to prevent the spread of germs. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
If you come down with the flu, stay home to prevent spreading the virus to others. It’s also a good idea to stay home if other family members have the flu to prevent the spread of the viral infection. If you are in crowded public areas, use a face mask.
Home Remedies For the Flu
Drink Plenty of Fluids
When you’re sick, it’s important to get lots of fluids in your body. Staying hydrated helps your immune system fight off invading viruses and bacteria. Fluids can also help ease the pain of a sore throat and help flush out viruses that are making you sick.
Try drinking hot water or herbal tea to help soothe a scratchy throat. Hot tea also contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can support a healthy immune system to fight infection. You can also drink sports drinks if you have experienced vomiting to help replenish vital vitamins and electrolytes.
Get Lots of Rest
In addition to staying hydrated, getting tons of rest is a great way to get rid of a cold fast. When we’re sick, our bodies need time and relaxation to focus on fighting off infections. Try to set up a comfortable place in your home on the couch or in your bed. Prop yourself up with a few pillows to help minimize the feelings of congestion. Make sure you have enough blankets to stay warm and comfortable.
Try to take naps throughout the day and focus on resting. Make sure you get enough sleep as it is vital to restoring a healthy body. If your flu symptoms are causing trouble sleeping, try a bedtime herbal tea such as chamomile tea or opt for a cold medicine formulated specifically for nighttime use.
Supplement With Vitamins
Staying healthy comes down to having a healthy diet. A well-rounded diet ensures your body gets all the vitamins and minerals you need to operate at peak performance. When you’re sick, supplementing with vitamins can help boost immunity. Research shows that vitamin C and vitamin D can both help fend off infections, though most research shows this is most effective during prevention (1)(2)(3).
Eating a hot bowl of chicken soup can help you feel better when you have flu symptoms. The emotional benefits of eating a bowl of soup may be responsible for feeling improvements when sick. The act of enjoying a bowl of soup is nostalgic and comforting — it’s just nice to enjoy a bowl of soup when you’re feeling under the weather. In addition, the warm vapor of the soup can help open up airways. Just make sure to lean over the bowl and inhale the vapor deeply when eating.
Take A Hot Shower
Another way to minimize symptoms of the flu is to take a hot shower or a hot bath. The warm, moist air helps to ease congestion and loosen stubborn mucus. The warm air is also easier to breathe, helping to ease respiratory symptoms. You can add essential oils such as echinacea or peppermint to the tub to help open airways further. These oils boast anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease body ache.
Ease Congestion With A Nasal Rinse
Nasal irrigation is a great way to get rid of flu symptoms such as a stuffy or runny nose. You can use nasal sprays that contain saline or medication for severe congestion. For minor to moderate cases, a nasal rinse can help eliminate backed up mucus. Use a neti pot or similar alternative and fill it with distilled water. Add a packet of saline and gently squeeze the opening into one nostril. Tilt your head so that the water runs in one nostril and out the other. Repeat as needed throughout the day.
Use A Humidifier
A humidifier can help loosen congestion and soothe a sore throat. The warm, wet air helps to ease scratchy throats while decreasing inflammation and improving blood flow. Make sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria such as mold.
Try A Steam Bath
Another way to ease congestion is to do a facial steam bath. Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil and remove from heat. Cover your head and neck with a towel and lean over the pot of hot water. Breathe in deeply and use a tissue to expel loosened mucus. Repeat as needed throughout the day.
Gargle With Salt Water
If you have a sore throat, gargling with salt water can help ease the pain. Simply fill a glass with warm water and add a small amount of sea salt. Take a sip of the mixture and swished it around in your mouth for 30 seconds to one minute. Gargle the solution in the back of your throat and spit the solution out into the sink when you are finished.
Ease Pain With Warm Compresses
A warm compress can help alleviate pain associated with body aches and headaches. Place a warm towel or heating pad on any sore areas for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat as needed until you feel better.
Fighting The Flu
Elderly individuals and young children have a high risk of contracting the flu, but anyone can get the flu virus. If you come down with the flu, try these home remedies to feel better fast. Flu remedies include gargling with salt water, getting plenty of rest, and staying hydrated. For severe cases, you may need to use more advanced cold remedies such as antimicrobial and antiviral drugs.