Flu symptoms can cause a world of misery, from fever and cough to sore throat, nasal congestion, aches, and chills. But there are ways to feel better.
Prescription antiviral medications may help ease symptoms of both seasonal and H1N1 flu when taken shortly after you get sick. In many cases, however, simple home remedies may be all you need for relief of mild to moderate flu symptoms.
A hacking cough, a throbbing head, a sore throat, and a nose so
stuffed it feels as if you'll never breathe free and clear again. You've got a
cold -- or maybe even the flu -- and all you want to do is
crawl in bed and sleep.
Until you get there. That's when you realize your symptoms are turning any chance
for a solid night's rest into the impossible dream.
"It's true that many cold and flu
symptoms seem to get worse at night, and they can interfere with sleep just
at the critical time when...
WebMD asked experts to suggest 10 natural remedies for flu:
1. Drink up. The flu can leave you dehydrated, especially if fever is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea. So be sure to get enough fluids. Water is fine. So are fruit juices, soda, and electrolyte beverages. You may want to stay away from caffeinated drinks, because caffeine is a diuretic. Herbal tea with honey can soothe a sore throat. If you feel nauseated, try taking small sips of liquids -- gulps might cause you to throw up. How can you be sure you’re getting enough fluid? Your urine should be pale yellow, almost colorless.
How about drinking alcohol? No way. “When you have the flu, the last thing you want to do is drink alcohol,” says William Schaffner, MD, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. “It makes you sleepy, and flu does that already.”
2. Sip some soup. For generations, caring parents have been serving chicken soup to kids with colds and flu. But was mom right? Possibly. A 2000 study published in the journal Chest showed that chicken soup may help relieve symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.
“I believe that chicken soup does help with symptoms,” says Reid B. Blackwelder, MD, professor of family medicine at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University in Kingsport. But not all doctors agree that chemistry alone explains the soup’s apparent benefits. “When you lean over a bowl of hot chicken soup and the vapor gets up your nose, you feel better,” says Schaffner. “But some [of the benefit] is clearly emotional. It just makes you feel better having someone make soup for you.”
3. Be a couch potato. The advice may be clichéd, but it’s sound: Listen to your body. If it’s telling you not to exercise, don’t. If it’s urging you to spend all day in bed, do. Don't press on with daily responsibilities even in the face of severe cold or flu symptoms. Rest is “another way of supporting the body’s ability to fight infection,” says Blackwelder.
And don’t skimp on nighttime sleep. “Good sleep cycles help the immune system work well, so it’s important to get your full eight hours of sleep each night,” says Schaffner.