6 Flu and Cold Home Remedies that Work

Citrus fruits including limes, lemons, oranges, grapefruits and blood oranges
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

By the time mid-winter rolls around, we’re all starting to feel like flu season has been around forever. Unfortunately, there’s still a couple of months left to go. The flu can leave you feeling like you got run over by a truck, and recovery is not easy. While you should always go see a doctor, there are still some tried and true home remedies that will help you bounce back much faster. So, whether you have already caught the nasty bug, or are just looking for tips on how to prevent the flu, we are here to help.

Keep Hydrated

Everyone always says you should drink plenty of fluids when you’re sick. We’re here to tell you that it’s not a myth. Your body does actually need the extra fluids to be able to heal sooner. It’s pretty logical, really. Warm beverages help loosen mucus from your nose and respiratory system, and help you replenish the fluids you’ve lost due to fever, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory tract evaporation, or whatever other symptoms you might be suffering.

However, not all beverages were created equal. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee and sugary sodas. Fresh water or lemonade are your best bet. Depending on your symptoms, an herbal tea might help you feel better. Mint and ginger are great for nausea and tummy ache. Basil and thyme can do wonders for your respiratory tract. Bay leaf boosts the immune system. And finally, sage and marshmallow root soothe a sore throat and help with persistent coughing.

Get stinky

Garlic and onion are some of nature’s most effective antibiotics. Garlic is an excellent immune system booster, and can help you prevent colds and the flu. When it comes to treatment, both of these delicious but pungent vegetables are great for sore throats and respiratory infections. They are most effective when eaten raw, but if you want to avoid garlic breath, you can try out some of the many garlic-based supplements available on the market today. Cooked onions are a traditional remedy for soothing cough and getting rid of phlegm. A warm and delicious onion soup will warm your chest, hydrate you, and help you cough up chest mucus.

Warm up with chicken soup

Chicken and bone soup have gained an almost mythical reputation when it comes to curing colds, but, surprisingly, it is well-earned. There are many reasons why soup is the best meal you can reach for when you feel the flu symptoms coming on.

First of all, if you have a fever or nausea, you might not be able to stomach much else in the way of nutrition. Soup will keep you hydrated, and the salt in it will help you replenish your electrolytes, and not just your fluids. The warmth of the soup will help with nose congestion as well as phlegm in the throat and chest. Finally, bone soup or soup made from a whole chicken has anti inflammatory properties. That is because the gelatine, glucosamine and chondroitin from the joints dissolve into the soup. When we eat the soup, they help our bodies repair and rebuild.

Curl up and nap

When you get hit by the flu, the best thing to do is let your body do its magic and fight the nasty infection with its protective mechanisms. Resting will help you heal faster and lower your risk of complications. However, getting some much needed shut-eye can be tricky when you’re sick. To help you sleep, get in a comfortable position. If you are dealing with a congested nose, prop yourself up on a few pillows. Use saline spray to clear any congestion. The salt in the spray acts as a mild disinfectant too, so it will help you get rid of the germs faster. If your respiratory organs feel raw and uncomfortable, you can use a humidifier. If you are feeling very uncomfortable, or are dealing with a high fever, ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a safe cold medicine.

Load up on vitamin D

There are plenty of misconceptions regarding vitamin D. First of all, it’s not really a vitamin at all. Second, it’s almost impossible to get it from food. Even getting enough of it from the sun can be tricky, since we mostly wear sunscreen nowadays (for good reason!). Study after study shows that a vitamin D deficiency can be a huge risk factor for a whole array of health problems – like different kinds of cancer (breast cancer most notably) and osteoporosis. Multiple studies have now confirmed that vitamin D plays a crucial role in our immune response. Have your vitamin D checked once a year, and always take a supplement during the winter months when exposure to sunshine is low.

Try Zinc

In a whole sea of supplements, Zinc is one that is actually proven to work when it comes to fighting cold. Research has shown that taking zinc within the first day from the onset of your symptoms can reduce the duration of your illness for at least a day. Other studies have determined that taken before you get sick, Zinc can actually boost your immune system so you don’t get sick at all.

Most colds are caused by one of the strains of the rhinovirus. Zinc works because it prevents rhinovirus from multiplying as well as from attaching to the membranes in your throat and nose. For this reason, it is best applied topically, in the form of spray. That way, it will be able to fight the virus directly, in the nose and throat. Bear in mind that Zinc supplements aren’t intended for constant or longterm use, as it can lead to side effects.

The most important thing you can do when you get the flu or a nasty cold, is to take it seriously. Give yourself the time to get better. That way you will shorten your recovery time and avoid the risk of unnecessary complications.