Nearly everybody catches the flu (or influenza) around this time of year. It pretty much seems to go with the season. There are several kinds of viruses that can give you the flu and, while there is really no cure for the disease, there are some natural remedies that might help soothe your flu symptoms. These may sometimes also help to shorten the length of time you have the pains and suffering.
In our article today, we’ll review 9 natural remedies and try to explain how you should use them.
First of all, make sure you drink plenty of water and other fluids (non-alcoholic, of course). This is a good idea even when you aren’t sick, but especially when you have stomach or respiratory flu.
Water helps you stay hydrated. It keeps your mouth, nose, and throat moist and lubricated. You’ll know you drink enough water and liquids if you need to hit the restroom regularly, and the color of your urine is almost clear or a pale yellow. If the color is amber or deep yellow, you may be dehydrated and need to drink more liquids.
Drinking warm beef bone or chicken broth is what your mom or ‘Grannie told you when you were growing up, and it’s good advice even today. Not only does broth make you feel better, but the warm liquid is a great way to keep you hydrated. It will also help to break up the nose and sinus congestion that is making you so miserable.
Bone broth also contains lots of protein and is naturally high in important minerals like potassium and sodium. It’s a great way to replenish these nutrients in your system while you’re sick. Plus protein is vitally important to rebuild immune cells.
Get lots of rest
Getting a healthy amount of sleep is very important when you have the flu. Sleeping boosts your immune system and helps your body fight off the flu virus. It might also be a good idea to cancel a lot of your usual routines and concentrate on making rest a top priority, at least until the flu symptoms are gone.
Add zinc to your diet
The mineral zinc is important to help your immune system when you’re sick. Zinc helps your body to make white blood cells that fight germs in your system. There is a lot of research indicating that zinc can ease cold and flu symptoms and helps your body fight the flu, and slows down the rate it multiplies.
Zinc occurs naturally in red meat and shellfish, beans, nuts, seeds, and chickpeas. It also is abundant in nuts and seeds, eggs, and most dairy products. You can also find zinc in supplement form at many local stores or online.
Gargle with saltwater
A saltwater gargle is great for soothing a sore throat. It also can clear up mucous that lingers in your throat when you come down with the flu.
Add about a half teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of hot water and let it cool down to about room temperature. Gargle it for about 10 – 20 seconds, so it rinses your mouth and throat. Spit the water out and repeat gargling for two or three more times.
Don’t swallow the saltwater, and don’t let children gargle until they learn not to swallow it, and can gargle easily with plain water.
Drink herbal tea
Tea has been around almost forever for medicinal relief from colds and flu. The reason is that several herbs have natural antiviral and antibacterial properties. Check your local health food store for some of these and keep them ready for when you need an herbal remedy for a cold or the flu:
Star Anise – A star-shaped spice that naturally contains oseltamivir phosphate, commonly known as Tamiflu. It’s a prescription drug often used to speed up recovery or prevent getting the flu.
Several other kinds of tea are effective against the flu virus. And, most green, leafy teas also have some antioxidant and germ-fighting benefits.
Herbal tea may help your body fight off the flu virus. A hot herbal drink is also soothing to your throat and sinuses.
Some of today’s essential oils can also help to protect you against certain viruses and bacteria. Tea tree oil may help you fight the flu by slowing down or stopping the rate that the flu virus multiplies. It appears to work best when within about two hours after you’re infected.
Other plant and herbal essential oils are also reputed to work as natural a natural antibiotic and antiviral. These include the oils of cinnamon, peppermint, lemon, and eucalyptus. Also, thyme and oregano oil may be helpful.
Use a humidifier
By humidifying the air in your home, you add moisture to the air you breathe and help to prevent dryness that can easily irritate many parts of your body. Humidifiers are particularly effective for treating dryness of the skin, nose, throat, and lips.
The flu virus survives longer in dry indoor air and makes the virus spread faster. During the winter, colder, outdoor temperatures lower the humidity in the air, and the indoor air will dry from using your heater. A humidifier adds humidity back into your home and workplace and helps reduce flu viruses in the air.
When you breathe in steam from a hot pot of water, it helps to soothe your nose, sinuses, lungs, and throat and loosens mucous congestion. The warm moist air from steam can also relieve a lot of the swelling you have in your nose and lungs. Also, steam inhalation will help to soothe your dry cough, irritated nose, and tightness in your chest.
Heat water for steam in a pot on your stove, in a microwave-safe bowl or mug, or a vaporizer. Test the temperature first, and don’t make it too hot to avoid being burned.
Some final thoughts
Make sure you know whether you have the flu or a common cold. Both are caused by viruses. But, flu symptoms begin fast and are usually more severe. Flu can last for a couple of weeks, while a cold will for less time, maybe a week or a little longer.
And unfortunately, the symptoms of Covid-19 are very similar to the flu. If you have severe flu symptoms in addition to shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, severe congestion, or nausea, have yourself tested for Covid-19 as soon as possible.
We sincerely hope you feel better soon! And, have a GREAT and SAFE holiday!
Learn more about us!
If you live in the Chicago metro area and are interested in learning more about our home cleaning services and how we can help you maintain a safe and healthy living environment, please give us a call. Our number is 708-599-7000. Or contact us online, and we’ll give you a free house or office cleaning consultation.