Have the flu? Know the best home remedies?
By David Martin, President and CEO of VeinInnovations
As we move closer to the holidays, we move further into flu season. Flu season starts in October and begins to peak in December. When you or a family member comes down with the flu, you can turn to home remedies. Home remedies won’t cure flu, but they can help ease the symptoms.
When Should Someone With the Flu See a Doctor?
You should go to the doctor if you get the flu if you have a high risk of developing complications. People at high risk of developing flu complications include
- very young children
- people over 65
- and pregnant women.
For a complete list, please check here.
You should also see a doctor if you’re worried about your case of the flu, or if you are very sick. Last week, I wrote about the flu vaccine and why it’s a good idea to get a shot. If you’re a high-risk individual or live with someone who is, please get a shot as soon as possible!
But for most people, the flu is a mild illness. Flu symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat and a runny nose can all be treated at home. Flu symptoms such as body aches, fatigue, headaches and chills are best treated by staying in bed. Most of us do not need to see a doctor when we come down with the flu.
What Are the Best Home Remedies for Treating the Flu?
For aches and pains, take an epsom salt bath. Add one or two cups of epsom salt to warm bathwater and soak for at least 20 minutes. The salts relieve muscle soreness and cramps. If you’ve never tried it, you’ll be amazed at the results.
Epsom salts are cheap and available in most drugstores. You can get salts scented with essential oils such as rosemary, mint and lavender, too. Wait to add bubble bath or washing with soap until you’ve finished your 20 minute soak – the soap may interfere with the salts.
Try gargling to relieve a scratchy throat.Warm salt water can provide temporary relief. So can gargling with green tea, which is rich in tannins, and can help relieve the tickly feeling in your throat. Another trick worth trying? A honey and lemon gargling solution. (One tablespoon lemon juice, one cup hot water and one teaspoon honey mixed well and then cooled to room temperature.)
Relieve congestion with nasal irrigation once a day. (A Neti-Pot is the best tool for irrigation, but you certainly don’t need to own one to try this method.) Make a saline solution by mixing ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon baking soda and eight ounces of warm water. Tilt your head slightly forward and to the side over a sink and pour the solution through one nostril. The solution will run out through your other nostril and the back of your throat. Repeat two to three times in each nostril. Blow your nose lightly afterwards. In addition to breaking up congestion, the saline solution removes virus particles and bacteria from your nose.
If you have the flu, remember to stay in to avoid spreading the infection to others. Hopefully, you’ll be well by Christmas and New Year’s, and your family will stay healthy, too.