The flu, also known as the influenza virus, infects over 60 million people in the U.S. every year.
The flu is a viral infection that strikes the entire body with a vengeance. The misery starts suddenly with chills and fever and spirals into more unpleasant symptoms that will take you out of commission: a sore throat, dry cough, stuffy or runny nose, headache (especially behind the eyes), severe muscle aches and pains, weakness, backache, and loss of appetite. Some people even experience pain and stiffness in the joints.
Flu is a highly contagious illness, spread by droplets from the respiratory tract of an infected person. These droplets can be airborne, such as those released after a person coughs or sneezes, or they can be transferred via an infected person’s hands.
The worst of your symptoms will last about three to five days, but others, such as cough and fatigue, can linger for weeks. Here are some ways to reduce your symptoms and possibly shorten the length of the illness.
Get Plenty of Rest
Plan on sleeping and otherwise taking it easy for a few days. This shouldn’t be hard to do considering fatigue is one of the main symptoms, so you won’t feel like doing much other than lounging in bed or on the couch, anyway. Consider it a good excuse to take a needed break from the daily stresses of life. And if you absolutely must continue to work, at least get to bed earlier than usual and try to go into the office a little later in the morning.
Drink, Drink, Drink
This doesn’t mean alcoholic beverages, of course. But drinking plenty of any other nonalcoholic, decaffeinated liquid (caffeine and alcohol both act as diuretics, which actually increase fluid loss) will help keep you hydrated and will also thin mucous secretions. The flu can cause a loss of appetite, but patients often find warm, salty broth agreeable. If you’re not eating much, juices are a good choice, too, since they provide nutrients you may be missing.
Humidify Your Home in Winter
Ever wonder why the flu tends to strike in the colder months? Part of the reason is your furnace. Artificial heat lowers humidity, creating an environment that allows the influenza virus to thrive. (Colder outside air also pushes people together in confined indoor spaces, making it easier for the flu bug to spread). Adding some moisture to the air in your home during the winter with a warm- or cool-mist humidifier may not only help prevent the spread of flu, it may also make you feel more comfortable if you do get it.
Drop Salt Water in the Nasal Passages
The flu can also cause your nose to become stuffy. To relieve stuffy nose, try dropping some salt water in the nasal passages of your nose. You can make a salt solution at home or purchase commercial saline drops at your local pharmacy. If you don’t like the idea of dropping salt water to the inside your nose, you can use nasal decongestants or oral decongestants instead. Nasal decongestants are more effective than oral decongestants, but they may also cause stuffy nose if used improperly.
Canned broth, whether it’s beef, chicken, or vegetable, will keep you hydrated and help liquefy any mucous secretions. Broth is easy to keep down, even when you have no appetite, and will provide at least some nutrients.
A hacking cough can keep you and every other household member up all night. Keep the peace with honey. Honey has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine for coughs. It’s a simple enough recipe: Mix 1 tablespoon honey into 1 cup hot water, stir well, and enjoy. Honey acts as a natural expectorant, promoting the flow of mucus. Squeeze some lemon in if you want a little tartness.
Not to discredit dear old Grandma, but she didn’t come up with the mustard plaster, although by the way she touts its virtues, you might believe so. Actually, this ancient remedy for the flu, chest colds, and bronchitis dates back to the Ancient Romans, who early on understood the healing properties of mustard. Mustard is loaded with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, many of which can be inhaled through the vapors. Impress Grandma by making a mustard plaster with 1 tablespoon dry mustard and 2 to 4 tablespoons flour. Mix both with 1 egg white (optional) and warm water to form a paste. Next, find a clean handkerchief or square of muslin large enough to cover the upper chest. Smear the cloth the same way you’d smear mustard on a sandwich, then plop another cloth over it. Dab olive oil on the patient’s skin and apply the mustard plaster to the upper chest. Check yourself or the patient every few minutes since mustard plaster can burn. Remove after a few minutes. Afterward, wash off any traces of mustard from the skin.
A cup of hot tea is just another way to take your fluids, which are so essential when you have the flu. Just be sure to choose decaffeinated varieties. Caffeine is a mild diuretic, which is counterproductive when you have the flu, and you certainly don’t want to be awakened with the need to use the bathroom when you need your rest!
The lovely lemon may cause a puckered face if eaten raw, but in a hot beverage, lemons will have you smiling. Hot lemonade has been used as a flu remedy since Roman times and is still highly regarded in the folk traditions of New England. Lemons, being highly acidic, help make mucous membranes distasteful to bacteria and viruses. Lemon oil, which gives the juice its fragrance, is like a wonder drug containing antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory constituents. The oil also acts as an expectorant. To make this flu-fighting fruit drink, place 1 chopped lemon — skin, pulp, and all — into 1 cup boiling water. While the lemon steeps for 5 minutes, inhale the steam. Strain, add honey (to taste), and enjoy. Drink hot lemonade three to four times a day throughout your illness.
Garlic is excellent for all kinds of different conditions in a high-quality, standardized garlic extract. These garlic extracts have the ability to actually get in there and help knock infection out, bring in a bacterial load or viral load down so the system can overcome it.
Pepper is an irritant, yet this annoying characteristic is a plus for those suffering from coughs with thick mucus. The irritating property of pepper stimulates circulation and the flow of mucus. Place 1 teaspoon black pepper into a cup and sweeten things up with the addition of 1 tablespoon honey. Fill with boiling water, let steep for 10 to 15 minutes, stir, and sip.
It’s time to try thyme when the mucous membranes are stuffed, the head aches, and the body is hot with fever. Wonderfully fragrant, thyme delights the senses (if you can smell when you’re sick) and works as a powerful expectorant and antiseptic, thanks to its constituent oil, thymol. By cupping your hands around a mug of thyme tea and breathing in the steam, the thymol sets to work through your upper respiratory tract, loosening mucus and inhibiting bacteria from settling down to stay. Make thyme tea in a snap by adding 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves to 1 cup boiling water. Let steep for five minutes while inhaling the steam. Strain the tea, sweeten with honey (to taste), and slowly sip.
Hidden beneath the pleasing scent of lavender is a fierce natural medicine and formidable protector. Used since antiquity, lavender was a significant guardian against some of the most deadly infectious diseases of all time – the great epidemics of plague sweeping across Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the 17th century. The protective aspects of the plant were discovered when tannery workers who utilized the oil in manufacturing, and those who tended lavender fields, appeared to be immune to the disease. Unbeknownst at the time, lavender is an exceptional bactericide and also stimulates the production of white blood cells, thereby creating a robust defense against harmful invading pathogens. A therapeutic grade lavender oil can be your best friend this autumn and winter. By placing a few drops of the essential oil on the skin several times per day, the immune system is primed and ready to tackle cold bugs and flu viruses. You can also use it in a hand sanitizer, antiseptic soap, disenfectant and air sanitizer. To learn how visit: Natural News
For more great Natural Remedies for the flu visit: 12 Home Remedies For Colds and Flu from our friends at BeWellBuzz
Do you have some home remedies for cold and flu – please comment below and be sure to share this article!
If you are experiencing one or more of these serious flu symptoms, you should skip the home remedies and seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible. The serious symptoms of the flu are shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, blue or purple discoloration of the lips, sudden dizziness, pressure or pain in the abdomen or chest, persistent or severe vomiting, confusion, and seizures. You should also seek medical attention if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms that go away or improve, but then return with high fever and worse cough.
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