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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Home Remedies for Fast Flu Relief

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Scratchy Throat and Congestion continued...

Spice up your meal: Garlic also jazzes up your immune system and may ease head congestion. Ginger helps you make more mucus and a protein called interferon that fights viral infections. Chili peppers are a great source of capsaicin, an antioxidant that also can unstuff your head and help you get the gunk out. Horseradish can open up a stuffy noggin, too.

Try an expectorant: You want to keep mucus thin so it doesn't pool in your head and give bacteria a place to breed. If that happens, your chances of getting a sinus infection go way up. Try an over-the-counter product that has guaifenesin.

Fever and Muscle Aches

Try an OTC analgesic: Fever is how your body fights a viral infection. Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can lower your temperature and ease muscle aches. Follow the dosage info on the label. Never give aspirin to a child unless your doctor says it's OK.

Drink more fluids: It’s easy to get dried out when you’re fighting the flu. Drink lots of liquids like water, clear soups, broth, or electrolyte replacement drinks until the fever resolves.

Stay in bed and rest: It boosts your immune function and gives your body time to heal.

Nighttime Congestion That Keeps You Awake

Moisten the air: A warm mist humidifier or vaporizer can ease a blocked head and chest. Clean it with a bleach solution every few days to prevent the growth of bacteria and molds.

Use nasal strips: When you place one over the lower one-third (fleshy) part of your nose, a plastic strip underneath springs out to open your nose and make it easier to breathe. You can also use a thin piece of surgical tape. Apply one end to the tip of your nose, lift, and fasten the other end to the top of your nose.

Raise your head: Prop your head up with pillows while you sleep.

Take it easy when you have the flu. Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and do what you can to feel better. If your symptoms don't get better in a few weeks or seem to be getting worse, call your doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on August 01, 2014
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