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.
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.