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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Is There a Natural Way to Treat the Flu?

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Gargle for a Sore Throat

It can moisten a flaming throat and bring short-term relief. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in warm water and gargle with this mix four times a day.

You can also try a thick mix made with honey, a popular folk treatment. Steep 1 tablespoon of raspberry leaves or lemon juice in 2 cups of hot water; mix with 1 teaspoon of honey. Let the liquid cool to room temperature before you gargle.

Soothe a Dry Cough

Hot drinks also open your chest and head. Plus they count toward all that liquid you’re supposed to be drinking every day. If you're so blocked up that you can't sleep at night, try a hot toddy, another age-old remedy.

Make a cup of hot herbal tea. Add 1 teaspoon of honey and one small shot (about 1 ounce) of whiskey or bourbon. Limit yourself to one. Too much booze inflames your membranes and defeats the purpose.

What About Supplements?

Many dietary supplements get credit for easing flu symptoms, but there’s no proof they work. Talk to your doctor before you try any.

Some natural herbal products can cause allergic reactions. Others may not work well with prescription medications you're taking. A few can even cause liver damage, so be careful.

If you aren’t sure about the claims on a product label, call your doctor. She can tell you what’s in it and if you should take it.

What Should I Do When Flu Symptoms Hit?

Even though there's no natural cure for flu, you can manage symptoms with common sense. Go ahead and pamper yourself a bit while you’re at it.

Call the doctor. Do it within 48 hours after symptoms start. Ask about antiviral drugs. They help ease symptoms and may shorten your illness if you take them early enough. Let him know if you have a chronic condition like heart disease, diabetes, COPD, asthma, or HIV. Check back in if your symptoms don’t get better after about 10 days.

Get lots of rest. Your body needs extra downtime to fight the viral infection.Aim for 7 to 9 hours of shuteye a night.

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