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Home Remedies for Fast Flu Relief

Need fast flu relief? Most of these remedies have been used to treat flu symptoms for generations and may help ease your symptoms as your body fights the flu virus. 

Also, it's a good idea to call your doctor at the first signs of flu -- widespread body aches and a fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit. If taken within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, flu medications may be able to shorten the duration of the flu. 

Flu Symptoms: Stuffy Sinuses

Try these tips to ease stuffy sinuses and breathe easier:

  • Breathe aromatic steam: Fill the bathroom or kitchen sink with steaming water, and add two teaspoons chopped fresh ginger (Zingiber officinalis). Drape a towel over your head and lean over the steam to get maximum benefit. Or add one teaspoon of the over-the-counter ointment Vicks VapoRub® to the steaming water, then breathe in the steam for several minutes until you get relief. Another flu remedy is to add a few drops of oil of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) or menthol to the water. Eucalyptus is known to open up bronchial tubes, ease congestion, and make breathing easier.
  • Take a warm shower: Getting in a warm shower with the bathroom door closed works as your own personal sauna. The steamy bathroom helps to open your airways and moisten and thin the mucus in your sinuses.
  • Increase liquids: Stay well-hydrated by drinking at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water each day. Water keeps your respiratory system hydrated, which helps to liquefy thick mucus that builds up with a respiratory infection. Some findings show that hot liquids may be superior to cold liquids in upper respiratory infections. Other liquids can be added, but avoid coffee, tea with caffeine, or alcoholic beverages as these liquids may cause dehydration. 
  • Use moist heat compresses: If your head is throbbing and it's difficult to breathe through your nose, you may find relief by applying warm moist compresses to the cheeks and sinuses. If you use moist heat, make sure it's not too hot to avoid burning yourself.
  • Try nasal saline irrigation or saline sprays: A host of scientific studies support nasal saline irrigation as an effective flu remedy to thin mucus, decrease postnasal drip, and add moisture to dried mucous membranes. In addition, the nasal rinse helps to remove virus particles and bacteria from your nose. Saline (salt water) nasal sprays can be purchased at any drug or grocery store and are effective, safe and nonirritating, even for children. Spray the saline solution into one nostril and then gently blow the mucus and saline out of that nostril. Repeat the process in the opposite nostril until both are running clear.
  • Consider decongestant nasal sprays: If you want immediate relief for a swollen, congested nasal passage, decongestant nasal sprays such as Afrin and Neo-Synephrine may be helpful. Decongestant nasal sprays are safe to use, but it's important to stop the spray after three days to avoid the development of rebound congestion (congestion that worsens when you stop the spray). This warning is on the bottle of most over-the-counter decongestant sprays.

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