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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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10 Tips to Ease Flu Symptoms

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Are you or someone in your house sick with the flu? There's no cure, but there are some natural ways to ease your symptoms. Give these a try today.

1. Stay home and get plenty of rest.

Mind your flu manners. On the first day you have symptoms, call your work or school and tell them you won’t be coming in for a few days. You're sick -- and very contagious! Take advantage of down time and give your body some much-needed rest. Curl up on the couch and spend some time reading, watching DVDs, or just cat-napping while your body battles the virus.

2. Drink plenty of fluids.

Make sure you get more liquids. It doesn’t all have to be water -- fruit juices, sports drinks, and broth-based soups (like chicken noodle soup) also count. They keep your respiratory system hydrated and turn that nasty, thick mucus into a thin liquid you can cough up and spit out. That’s good -- if it builds up in your lungs it could lead to an infection.

3. Treat aches and fever.

Got fever? That’s because your body has turned up the heat to fight off the flu virus.

Treat it and the aches that come with it with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Ask your doctor which is right for you.

Never give aspirin to anyone younger than 19. It’s linked to a condition known as Reye's syndrome, a serious illness that can damage the brain and liver.

4. Take care of your cough.

Over-the-counter treatments can calm your hack. Try an expectorant, which turns mucus into liquid so you can cough it up. Don’t give over-the-counter cough or cold medicine to children under 4.

5. Breathe in steam.

Fill the bathroom sink with hot water. Add 1 teaspoon of an over-the-counter menthol rub and breathe in the steam for several minutes until you feel better. You can also add a few drops of menthol or eucalyptus oil. They can open your airways, ease congestion, and make it easier to breathe. There’s no proof, though, that any of these really help with the symptoms.

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