Are you looking for a natural treatment for the flu? While there are some natural remedies that can help ease flu symptoms, there is no natural cure for flu at this time. In addition, there is no "natural" way to prevent flu other than by avoiding it, so there is no natural substitute for immunization with a flu vaccine or FluMist.
Read on to find out what natural steps you can take to help yourself or someone you are taking care of feel less sick when the flu comes on.
Person to Person
The main way that influenza viruses are thought to spread is from person to
person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. (This is called "droplet
spread.") This can happen when droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected
person are propelled through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of
people nearby. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches
respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own
mouth or nose (or...
Believe it or not, those flu symptoms you're experiencing are part of a natural healing process -- evidence that your immune system is working to battle the flu. For instance, a fever is your body's way of trying to kill viruses in a hotter-than-normal environment. In addition, a fever's hot environment makes germ-killing proteins in your blood circulate more quickly and effectively. Thus, if you endure a moderate fever for a day or two, you may actually get well faster.
Coughing is another productive flu symptom. When you cough, you're helping to clear your breathing passages of thick mucus that can carry germs to your lungs and the rest of your body.
Can I Treat Nasal Congestion Naturally?
That congested nose is best treated mildly or not at all. A decongestant, such as Sudafed, restricts flow to the blood vessels in your nose and throat. But often you want the increased blood flow because it warms the infected area and helps secretions carry germs out of your body.
A natural remedy for nasal congestion is to drink more water. Hydration is important for anyone with respiratory problems, and water is cost-efficient, easily available, and healthy. As the water content of the mucus is increased, the mucus becomes less viscous and easier to expel. The sinuses drain more effectively when you are well-hydrated, and the mucus membrane is less susceptible to infection.
Will Salt Water Sprays or Rinses Help Nasal Congestion?
Rinsing with salt water helps break nasal congestion while also removing virus particles and bacteria from your nose. You can buy an over-the-counter saline spray or use this popular recipe:
Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water. Lean over the bathroom sink. Gently squirt the saline solution in your nostril using a bulb syringe. It may work best to hold one nostril closed by applying light finger pressure while squirting the salt mixture into the other nostril. Let the saline solution drain. Repeat two to three times, and then do the same with the other nostril.
Is There a Natural Remedy for a Sore Throat?
Gargling can moisten a sore throat and bring temporary relief. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in warm water and gargle with this four times a day.
To reduce the tickle in your throat, try an astringent gargle -- such as tea that contains tannin -- to tighten the membranes. Or use a viscous gargle made with honey, which is popular in folk medicine. Steep one tablespoon of raspberry leaves or lemon juice in two cups of hot water; mix with one teaspoon of honey. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before gargling.