Do Flu Home Remedies Work? Tips from the Experts
While influenza is in most cases more of a hassle than dangerous, it can last for up to two weeks and in most people triggers a wide range of miserable symptoms. In rare cases, the flu can lead to medical complications, which is why it’s always recommended that have a doctor assess your symptoms. In the meantime, you will want to do whatever you can at home to keep yourself comfortable and able to rest, which will in turn speed the healing process. Here are some of the top things you can do at home to take care of yourself while you’re sick.
Doctor Tips on Over-the-Counter Medications
Since antiviral medications aren’t always prescribed with the flu (since they work best when started within the first two days of getting sick), often your doctor will recommend that you take over-the-counter medications to keep you comfortable in the interim. Here are some tips if you decide to go this route:
- If your main discomfort involves congestion, a decongestant can ease stuffy noses, sinuses, ears, and chest. Likewise, cough medicine and cough drops or lozenges can temporarily relieve coughing and a sore throat.
- Flu-induced fevers and aches can be brutal, almost necessitating the use of over-the-counter meds like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Talk to your doctor about the best pain reliever for your and you symptoms (for instance, NSAIDs are generally recommended for those dealing with kidney disease or stomach problems).
- It’s always recommended that you confer with your doctor or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medications for the flu. Many of these products contain the same active ingredients, and if you take several together, you may end up taking more than the recommended dose, which can result in serious health problems.
Other Recommended Home Remedies
Get tons of rest: The biggest remedy that doctors advise is rest. When you have the flu, this is not the time to try and push through it and try to keep up with your normal daily routine. Since flu symptoms don’t often allow for a full night’s rest, you will need to rest during the day to catch up. Otherwise, the sleep deprivation can suppress immune system function and make you more susceptible to secondary infections.
Drink plenty of clear fluids: Due to the high fevers that often accompany the flu, it is easy to become dehydrated, which can in turn really take a toll on your body. Clear fluids like water or a simple broth are best, although sports drinks and other electrolyte-filled beverages can also help keep you hydrated and thus much more comfortable.
Make yourself comfortable: While flu symptoms can leave you feeling pretty miserable, there are plenty of simple things you can do to ease those symptoms. For instance, if you are congested, placing a humidifier in the room can work wonders. If your fever is raging, a cool damp washcloth on the forehead, arms, and legs can help reduce discomfort.
It’s important to remember that over-the-counter medications and other home remedies may relieve some flu symptoms, but they will not make you any less contagious. According to the CDC, It’s important that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. If you have any questions about your health, it’s important that you contact your doctor.