Flu or influenza is a common viral disease affecting the respiratory system. This infectious disease is caused by the influenza virus. Most cases of flu are self-limiting and can be easily managed at home. Some cases, especially in infants and young children, older individuals, people with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women, may progress into complicated and serious cases needing urgent medical attention. For most cases, however, home remedies are the best way to alleviate the symptoms. Some of the effective home remedies to manage flu include:
- Getting plenty of bed rest to boost immune function and ward off viruses.
- Drinking plenty of fluids like water or juice to flush viruses or bacteria out of the body.
- Putting an air humidifier in your room to provide extra moisture to ease breathing.
- Increasing the intake of Vitamin C rich foods, such as oranges, strawberries, kiwis, melon, mangoes, tomatoes, bell pepper, papaya, red cabbage, and spinach, may help to reduce the lifespan of the cold but may not completely cure it. Overconsumption of Vitamin C should be avoided because it may lead to an upset stomach or kidney stones.
- Drinking warm beverages like chicken soup or ginger tea would provide a soothing effect by reducing mucus buildup and improving the body’s hydration.
- Elevating your head using a pillow while sleeping to combat breathing difficulties.
- Using nasal strips available as over the counter (OTC) product to open your nasal passages.
- Drinking warm water with two to three teaspoons of honey mixed in it to curb dry cough, which may stem with or after having a cold.
- Making sure to eat a healthy diet even when the appetite goes down.
- Gargling with warm salt water to relieve a sore throat.
- Sitting under a steamy shower may help to relieve stuffiness. Sit away from hot water to avoid burns.
- Sucking on soothing lozenges will moisten and provide a coat for the sore throat, which may relieve your cough.
- Nasal irrigation helps to irrigate and moisten nasal passages. However, use it with caution and understand its instruction completely before using it.
How to prevent catching the flu?
Flu cannot be prevented entirely; however, the following 11 tips may help:
- Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of flu
- Wash hands for 20 seconds every few hours
- Use a clean towel to dry your hands
- Avoid touching your face, especially your nose and eyes, to prevent infection
- Sneeze or cough into the upper shirt sleeve
- Always wear a mask while stepping out, especially during COVID-19 times
- Use a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol when hand washing is not feasible
- Avoid going outdoors unless necessary when you are sick with a flu-like illness
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu germs
- Talk to your health care provider before trying any herbs or supplements
- Stay away from smoking and second-hand smoke
What to avoid during the flu?
You need to avoid certain things during flu because these may either worsen the symptoms or may have no effect on the flu. These things include:
- Taking antibiotics
- OTC cold and cough medications in children
- Using Aspirin
- Using Pseudoephedrine in pregnant women and patients with high blood pressure
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Mayo Clinic. Cold remedies: What Works, What Doesn't, What Can't Hurt. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/cold-remedies/art-20046403
Cleveland Clinic. The Common Cold and the Flu: Management and Treatment. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/13756--colds-and-flu-symptoms-treatment-prevention-when-to-call/management-and-treatment
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