The flu is the result of influenza, a nasty virus that can attack the upper respiratory tract. It’s typically spread through the air from person to person, so you have no idea when it might strike.
To make it easier, I’ve created this list of 9 natural ways that might help during flu season.
1. Stay Hydrated
Here’s a tip you should follow whether you’re afraid of the flu or not. Keeping hydrated is one of the best ways to stay healthy.
You need to make up for lost fluids when you have the flu, especially if you have a fever or have been vomiting.
For example, if you have a cool-mist humidifier or vaporize, plug that bad boy up to add moisture to the air, which will help a stopped-up nose.
You can also suck on ice chips or even a frozen Popsicle to numb throat pain and provide extra hydration as they melt.
Try drinking hot liquids to help relieve nasal congestion and soothe inflamed membranes in your nose and throat.
2. Keep Yourself Clean
The CDC recommends you get a yearly flu vaccine as the most important step for fighting the flu – but there are many ways to keep the flu from spreading to you and your family:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Instead of allowing germs from sneezes and coughs to build up on your hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, and wherever else they might land, keep sanitizer nearby and wipe yourself down.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to stop the spread of germs.
- Wash your hands with soap and water every time you get out of bed.
- Blow your nose thoroughly, as often as necessary, or even before you really need to.
- Disinfect surfaces and objects that could become contaminated with germs like the flu.
These cleanliness tips are great for flu season, but you should practice them year round.
3. Stay Rested
Yes, exercise is key to good health. But when you’re sick, your body needs a break.
So, instead of directing your body’s energies towards work – moving around, exercising, or anything remotely strenuous – just relax.
Your body needs all the help it can get to fight off the flu in the battle for your health.
4. Stock Up On Nutrients
When you’re sick, the body needs all the help it can get. Here are some of the best nutrients you can find to strengthen your immune system against the flu:
- Vitamin C should be at the top of your list for battling the flu and other viruses. So, keep vitamin C tablets or foods/beverages with high amounts of this important vitamin.
- Omega-3 fatty acids increase the activity of phagocytes – cells that fight flu by eating up bacteria.
- Zinc may shorten the length of the cold-like symptoms of flu. David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center said, “30 mg [of zinc] taken at the very start of a cold will shorten it by about half a day.”
- Vitamin D is also an important player in preventing the flu from occurring in the first place. It provides an overall healthy immune system, but also is an effective antimicrobial agent.
Remember that you can find all of these nutrients in a well-balanced diet. If you eat poorly all the time, you may have it worse than someone who stays healthy when the flu does hit.
5. Eat Healthy Foods
Your diet is seriously important when it comes to preventing and fighting off that nasty flu.
6. Apply Hot or Cold Packs to Your Sinuses
Depending on how you personally feel, you may want hot or cold packs to help you feel more comfortable. You can find them in reusable packs at your local drugstore.
If you have no way of getting one, make one yourself! For warmth, simply heat a damp washcloth in the microwave. For cold, take a small bag of frozen peas from your freezer.
Then, apply them to your cheeks, forehead, and neck. They’ll ease your soreness, and temporarily distract you from your sickness. Repeat as often as you like.
7. Gargle Salt Water
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before – and for good reason!
Gargling can moisten a sore throat and provide temporary relief of pain and put a stop to that irritating tickle.
The best-recommended mixture for a glass of salt water is around half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.
8. Take a Hot Shower
Besides cleanliness, a shower can be an extremely relaxing experience.
A steamy shower can moisturize and clear your sinuses and nasal passages, especially if you gently blow your nose while sucking in the warm moisture from the water.
All I can say is that the flu is no fun. We all go through some sort of sickness at some point in our lives, so knowing what you can do to prevent and fight it ahead of time is a great way to get back to good health.
Get well soon.