Home Remedies for Fast Flu Relief
Nasal Saline Irrigation Tips
Here's a popular nasal irrigation recipe that you can try at home:
- Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water.
- Use a bulb syringe to squirt water into the nose.
- Learning over the bathroom sink, hold one nostril closed by applying light finger pressure while squirting the salt mixture into the other nostril. Let it drain and gently blow your nose.
- Repeat 2-3 times and then treat the other nostril.
You can also use a Neti Pot for nasal saline irrigation. A Neti pot is a ceramic container that looks like a genie's magic lamp and is available at most natural foods stores.
- Fill the Neti pot with the saline solution (see recipe above).
- Leaning over the bathroom sink, tilt your head to one side and pour the solution directly into one nostril with the Neti pot.
- The solution will go into your nasal cavity and run out the other nostril and the back of your throat.
- Spit out the drainage, and gently blow your nose to clear your nasal passages.
According to the CDC, if you are irrigating, flushing, or rinsing your sinuses, use distilled, sterile or previously boiled water to make up the irrigation solution. It’s also important to rinse the irrigation device after each use and leave open to air dry.
Flu Symptom: Cough Relief
Here are tips to ease a nagging cough:
- Cough syrup: Try an over-the-counter cough syrup to calm a cough with flu. You can select from a cough suppressant, expectorant (guaifenesin), or topical medicine (a menthol rub for the chest). If you have asthma or other lung disease, avoid suppressing your cough. Talk to your doctor to see what might be helpful in your situation. Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to children under 4.
- Cough drops: Keep sugar-free cough drops or hard candy nearby to calm a tickle in your throat. In addition, a teaspoon of honey might also help calm an irritated throat.
Flu Symptoms: Scratchy Throat and Congestion
Here are some tips to soothe a scratchy throat and chest congestion:
- Eat hot chicken soup: If the flu has taken its toll on your throat, and it's hard to swallow without grimacing, sip some hot chicken soup. Hot chicken soup is a potent mucus stimulant, especially when it's loaded with pepper, garlic, hot curry powder, or other pungent spice that helps to thin mucus in the mouth, throat, and lungs. Studies have shown that hot chicken soup improves the function of cilia, the tiny hair like projections in the nasal passages that protect the body from foreign bacteria and viruses. Steaming chicken soup may also improve the motion of disease-fighting white blood cells.
- Add spice to your meal: Garlic appears to have antimicrobial and immune-stimulating properties and may give relief of upper respiratory congestion with cold or flu. Ginger also stimulates nerves that lead to mucus production. Ginger appears to have an antioxidant effect, as well as an anti-inflammatory effect, and stimulates the production of interferon that helps fight viral infections. Chili peppers are a great source of capsaicin, an antioxidant that also acts as a natural decongestant and expectorant. Horseradish contains a chemical similar to one found in decongestants.
- Try an expectorant: With a cold or flu, it's important to keep mucus thin so it doesn't stagnate and allow bacteria to breed, thus, increasing the chances of infection. Try an over-the-counter expectorant such as guaifenesin, which is found in cough products such as Robitussin and Mucinex. Remember that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to children under 4. Follow the directions on the label.