It hit you like a ton of bricks. A fever, body aches, cough, and you’re tired. The fact that it all came on so suddenly tells you one thing—you have the flu. Now you’re wondering what flu remedies you can try to make yourself feel better.
When it comes to the flu, it’s all about taking preventive measures to decrease your risk. Getting vaccinated is your best defense. Doing things like washing your hands, covering your coughs, and doing things to keep our immune system strong are all good places to start. This will decrease your risk of catching a cold, too.
But if you do contract a cold or the influenza virus, you’re going to have to ride it out. There is no cure for the flu. Cold and flu symptoms can last up to two weeks. You should also know that cold and flu remedies will only make you feel a little better. So, let’s look at some flu remedies you can try.
One of the Best Flu Remedies Is Sleep
Of all the flu remedies you can try, sleep might be the best. Studies show that when you’re sleeping, your body is recovering. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health say sleep affects growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
Studies also show people who don’t sleep enough are more likely to get sick than those who do. You can’t go wrong with this natural remedy for flu.
Antibiotics Are not Flu Remedies
If you’re looking for flu remedies, antibiotics aren’t one of them. A cold or flu can’t be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria, but colds and flus are caused by viruses.
The virus is spread through droplets that go airborne when someone with the flu coughs, sneezes or even talks.
Cough and cold medicines may also help lessen symptoms, but they won’t cure the flu.
Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that come in three forms:
- Inhaled powder
- Intravenous solution
Antiviral Drugs as Flu Remedy
Antiviral drugs fight against the flu virus in your body. They are not sold over the counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from your doctor or healthcare provider.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three FDA-approved antiviral drugs to treat flu this season:
- Oseltamivir (available as a generic version or under the trade name Tamiflu®)
- Zanamivir (trade name Relenza®)
- Peramivir (trade name Rapivab®)
As flu remedies go, if you take antiviral drugs within two days of becoming sick with flu symptoms, they can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by about one day.
Your Flu Remedies Should Include Hydration
Hydration is another natural remedy for flu you can try. If you have the flu, you’ll have a fever—and a fever can dehydrate you. It causes sweating and, if you also have a runny nose, you’re losing even more fluids.
That’s why it’s important to get plenty of fluids. Keep a glass or bottle of water handy at all times. If you’re looking for a little flavor, you can try things like:
- Infused water
- Sports drinks
- Chicken Soup
- Flat white soda
Drinking tea with honey is also a good choice. The tea will help keep you hydrated, and hot water alone can help clear your sinuses. The honey may also help with your cough by soothing your throat. A University of Missouri study found honey can help a coughing child sleep. Another study found similar results.
You often hear people talk about how they had to “fight the flu” or how they are “fighting a cold.” That’s really what it is when you’re sick—a fight. Your best defense is to make an appointment to get a flu shot. Even if you get sick after getting vaccinated, the vaccine can help shorten the duration. And if you are sick, there’s no harm in trying some home flu remedies, too.
You can also download our guide “How to Get Rid of The Flu (Or Not Get It At All)”. In it you’ll find tips to protect yourself this flu season and more advice on what to do if you do get sick.