What Helps Relieve Flu Symptoms?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people with the flu do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. But, if you have the flu and aren’t in a high-risk category, chances are you still feel pretty lousy and may for several days. So, the question is, “How can you get relief from the flu?”

Flu relief comes in many forms, but here are some of the things we suggest to help relieve flu symptoms:

1. Stay home and rest.

The best thing you can do for the people you work with, commute with or go to school with is to stay home. Not only will you be helping others avoid the flu, but you also give your body a chance to rest and recover. Fighting the flu takes energy, so every bit you can save for that recovery will help.

2. Drink plenty of fluids.

Maybe your mom, grandmom or other caregiver used to push drinks and broth on you when you were sick. Well, they were right. Fluids help thin out mucus, soothe your throat and lessen congestion. Drink water, non-sugary drinks and hot tea with honey or lemon. Hot liquids like tea, chicken broth or chicken soup feel good when you don’t.

3. Use a humidifier, especially at night.

Like steam from soup or tea, moisture is good for your throat and nasal passages. In winter, with the heater running and flu raging, your already sore throat and stuffy nose can feel worse in the hot dry air. Adding moisture from a humidifier can help you feel better and sleep better.

4. Take medicine to treat flu symptoms.

These days, there are plenty of over-the-counter medicines available to help treat flu symptoms like body aches, congestion, sore throat and fever. They will not help the flu go away faster, but they can help you feel better. Our BC® Cough & Cold medicine targets symptoms like nasal congestion, sore throat, fever, body aches and more. If you don’t have much of a cough, you might want our BC® Sinus Pain & Congestion. It contains a powerful pain reliever, decongestant and antihistamine to address a runny nose, congestion, headache and more. 

5. Sleep propped up.

Use an extra pillow or raise your mattress slightly at the “head” end so that you’re not laying flat. Nasal and chest congestion can create even more of an urge to cough at night when you are lying down. Raising your head higher can help you breathe easier and cough less.

6. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol.

When we said “drink plenty of fluids” earlier, we did not mean alcohol. Alcohol can depress or slow your breathing, which may already be compromised by congestion, and it’s simply not hydrating. Your body needs to be replenished; alcohol dehydrates. Smoking also antagonizes already congested lungs and can make your throat feel even worse.

7. Eat healthy foods.

You may not have much of an appetite when you have the flu. But your body still needs nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for fuel. Eat what you can, when you can. Just choose healthy foods. Like instead of toast and butter, eat multigrain toast with avocado or a real fruit spread. Instead of ice cream to soothe your throat, try a low-sugar, probiotic yogurt. Vitamin C is great for your immune system, so eat some berries or make a fruit smoothie. Eat warm foods like chicken soup or oatmeal. If you don’t have any of these at home, ask a friend or family member to run an errand for you and drop a bag or two of food at the door for you. Many supermarkets and apps offer home delivery services you could try too.

As flu season approaches each year, ask your doctor if you would benefit from a flu shot. Many local store pharmacies offer them at low cost or even for free, depending on your insurance plan. Read through our blog post, “5 Easy Things You Can Do to Avoid Colds & Flu” when you get a chance too. One thing you know for sure once you’ve had the flu is you never want it again.