June 18, 2024
Learn how to treat flu symptoms with over-the-counter medicine and natural remedies. Find out the importance of hydrating and resting, and discover helpful ways to keep yourself entertained during recovery. Be part of the prevention and take action.

Introduction

Flu, a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, is an unwelcome annual visitor in many homes. It can cause fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, muscle or body aches, and runny or stuffy nose. Although these symptoms are no fun at all, the good news is that most flu symptoms go away on their own within a week or two. In this article, we will discuss how to treat flu symptoms with natural remedies, over-the-counter medications, and other useful tips so that you can feel better as soon as possible.

Rest is the Best Medicine

The most important remedy for flu is rest. When our bodies are fighting infections, they need all the energy that they can get. Therefore, it’s essential to conserve our energy and take a break from our busy lives when we have the flu. You should adjust your work/school schedule, and take time to rest as much as possible.

You can get proper rest by making sure that you sleep for at least seven to eight hours a day and lying down when you feel tired. Avoid strenuous activities and exercise, which can weaken your immune system and make you feel worse. Incorporate mindfulness activities like meditation and deep breathing to help you relax.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Staying hydrated is crucial for flu patients to avoid dehydration, which is a common complication of flu. Drinking fluids keeps our bodies hydrated and helps flush out toxins and unwanted particles from our system. Water is the best drink for hydration. Besides water, you can also try drinking clear broth, warm lemon water with a bit of honey, coconut water, or herbal tea (chamomile or ginger). You can also try drinking sports drinks or electrolyte solutions (Pedialyte) if you feel dehydrated.

It’s important to monitor your hydration levels. A simple way to do that is by checking your urine color. If it’s light yellow or clear, then you’re on the right track. If it’s dark yellow, you need to drink more fluids.

Over-the-Counter Medications

You can take over-the-counter medications to ease some of the flu symptoms. Medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or aspirin (for adults only) can be used to reduce fever, headaches, and body aches. Decongestants (Sudafed) and antihistamines (Claritin) can be used to relieve nasal congestion and sneezing. You should always seek advice from a pharmacist or doctor before taking any medication, especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you’re taking other medications that may interact with flu medication.

Some people need to avoid specific over-the-counter medications. For example, individuals with high blood pressure should avoid taking decongestants as these medications can cause their blood pressure to rise. If you’re not sure about the medications that are safe for you, talk to a doctor.

It’s also judicious to be aware of the possible side effects of these medications. For example, common side effects of decongestants like Sudafed include dry mouth, agitation, and insomnia. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen may cause stomach distress, so it’s recommended to take them with food.

Natural Remedies

If you prefer natural remedies to synthetic drugs, here are some of the herbs and spices that can assist in treating flu. They can be used as supplements or added to soups and teas:

  • Echinacea: This herb can boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain.
  • Garlic: It has antiviral ingredients that can help fight flu viruses.
  • Ginger: It has anti-inflammatory properties, helps reduce nausea and congestion, and boosts the immune system.
  • Honey: It has antiviral and anti-bacterial properties. You can add it to your tea or drink it in warm water.
  • Elderberry: It contains antioxidants that improve the immune system and ease flu symptoms.

There are also some things to be careful about when using natural remedies. For example, while essential oils like tea tree oil and thyme contain active antimicrobial agents, they can also be highly concentrated and may cause skin irritation or other adverse reactions if applied directly to the skin. It is recommended to use essential oils in diffusers, diluted in carrier oils or purchased in low concentration versions from reputable sources.

Keep Yourself Entertained

Getting the flu can be a lonely and boring experience because you need to rest at home. Your mind can be preoccupied with how you’re feeling if you don’t have something to distract you. Keep yourself busy by doing light activities such as reading books, watching films, and meditating. You can also listen to music, complete puzzles, or engage in artisan activities like knitting and painting. Keeping yourself entertained can increase your happiness and make you feel better quickly.

Prevention is Key

Preventing flu from occurring in the first place is advisable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting an annual flu shot. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds decreases the risk of infection. All surfaces that come into contact with people’s hands should be cleaned regularly and disinfected. Avoid close contact with people who are already infected with flu. During flu season, avoid crowded places like shopping centers, schools, or airports.

Conclusion

We hope that the above remedies have equipped you with thorough knowledge of how to treat flu at home. Even so, it’s important to note that there isn’t a silver bullet for flu. If your symptoms persist or get worse, see a doctor. Remember, rest is essential, hydrate regularly, and always seek medical advice before using medication. Taking small doses of natural remedies, keeping yourself entertained, and taking preventative measures can decrease the severity of symptoms and speed up your recovery.

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