Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Select An Article

Home Remedies for Fast Flu Relief

Font Size

Need fast flu relief? Most of these remedies have been used to treat symptoms for years and may help you feel better while your body fights the virus.

It's a good idea to call your doctor at the first signs of flu -- widespread body aches and a fever over 102 degrees F. Drugs called antivrals that you get from your doctor may shorten your illness, but you have to take them within 48 hours after symptoms start.

Open Up Your Stuffy Sinuses

Try these tips to clear things out:

  • Breathe aromatic steam: Fill the bathroom or kitchen sink with steamy water. Drape a towel over your head and lean over the steam. You can add things to the water -- 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger, a teaspoon of the over-the-counter (OTC) menthol ointment, or a few drops of eucalyptus oil.
  • Take a warm shower: Run the water with the bathroom door closed to make your own personal sauna. The steamy air opens your head and chest while it moistens and thins the mucus in your sinuses.
  • Get more liquids: Drink at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of liquid each day - it doesn’t all have to be water. Fluids help to thin out the thick mucus that builds up with this illness. Hot drinks may work better than cold. Avoid coffee, tea with caffeine, or alcohol. They can all dry you out.
  • Use moist heat: If your head’s throbbing and it's hard to breathe through your nose, it may help to put a warm, moist compress on your cheeks and sinuses. Make sure it's not so hot that you could burn yourself.
  • Try salt water sprays: A salty rinse for your nose can thin mucus, ease postnasal drip, and moisten dry membranes. It also helps remove virus particles and bacteria from your nose. You can get saline sprays at any drug or grocery store. They’re safe, they work, and they won’t bother your nose. They’re OK for kids to use, too. Spray the rinse into one nostril and then gently blow out. Repeat on the other side until no more mucus comes out.
  • Try a decongestant spray: They give fast relief for a swollen, stuffy nose. They’re safe, but you need to stop using them after 3 days or they could cause more congestion.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
cold weather
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Boy holding ear
woman receiving vaccine shot
woman with fever
Waking up from sleep
woman with sore throat