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Having the flu is pretty miserable for everyone involved: fever, runny nose, aches and pains—you get the picture. In order to help you get out of the woods and make your flu recovery as quick and painless as possible, we’ve collected our top tips for flu recovery that will help you start feeling better ASAP.
- Stay hydrated. Whether you’re dealing with a high fever or vomiting, one thing is clear: you need to replenish all the liquids your body is losing.1 Plus, if you’re suffering from a stuffy nose or chest congestion, consuming more fluids can also help thin out the mucus and give you some relief.2 The simplest—fluid to consume is water. If you need a change of pace, you can also try an herbal tea, fruit juice, or sports drink. Another way to replenish fluids is by eating soup. Broth-based soups like chicken noodle soup or pho can be great options, especially if you’ve lost your appetite but still need to get some nutrition in. Drinking liquids can also help sooth your throat if you have scratchiness or a cough.
- Get enough rest. Sleeping is always important, but especially so when your body is fighting off infection.1 Make sure to get in bed a little earlier, and let yourself sleep in longer than you usually would, too. If you’re feeling sleepy in the middle of the day, go ahead and succumb to a nap. Even when you’re not sleeping, making sure to slow things down is important for your recovery. Stay home from school or work and rest—catch up on your favorite TV shows, journal, do some reading, or work on simple craft projects like knitting or painting with watercolors. Staying home will also help prevent you from spreading germs to others (in case you needed another reason to have a movie marathon!).
- Add moisture to the air. One common symptom of the flu is congestion—nose, chest, or both.3 Just like you should be staying hydrated to help your body heal, you can also increase the moisture in the air around you to help relieve congestion! Try sleeping with a humidifier or vaporizer in your bedroom or, if you don’t have a humidifier, take a hot shower or bath and breathe in the steam. Warm and humid air can help loosen some of your congestion and give you some relief.4
- Try using a saline spray or neti pot. There are many saline nose drops and sprays available that can help clear your nose and sinuses of excess mucus.4 You can find a range of these over-the-counter options at most grocery stores and pharmacies. You can also make your own warm saline solution at home and use a neti pot to help clear out your sinuses. If you choose this option, be sure to test the water temperature before rinsing your nasal passages—the only thing worse than a stuffy nose is a scalded one!
- Soothe a sore throat with honey or a lozenge. Adding a spoonful of honey to your tea—or simply enjoying a spoonful straight from the jar—can help coat your throat and soothe some of the discomfort that comes with a sore throat or cough.5 There are also plenty of options for flavored cough drops and lozenges out there, too, including sugar-free and naturally-flavored choices.
- Eat healthy, nutritious food. While you’re in the kitchen, take the time to make healthy choices when it comes to snacking and mealtime. Save your favorite salty and sweet processed snacks for another time, and focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other nutrient-dense foods. If you don’t have much of an appetite, try making a smoothie and adding mineral- and antioxidant-rich foods like leafy greens or frozen berries. Oatmeal or a banana are two great options that are easy on the throat and mild in flavor but still full of nutrients and fiber. As mentioned before, soup is another great option that works double time to feed your body with both liquids and nutrients. Opt for a warming vegetable or chicken noodle soup when mealtime rolls around.
- Grab an extra pillow. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night due to congestion or coughing, elevating your head may help you get relief. Adding an extra pillow under your head can help to relieve some sinus pressure and let gravity do the work.1
- Get an over-the-counter medicine for cough, congestion, or pain relief.5 Sometimes, home remedies don’t quite cut it and you need a little extra help. Depending on the symptoms that are bothering you the most, a pain reliever, fever reducer, cough suppressant, and nasal decongestant like Theraflu ExpressMax Severe Cold & Flu Syrup can help temporarily relieve your cold and flu symptoms.
We hope these tips for flu recovery will help you feel better. For more tips, tricks, and information about the cold and flu, explore more articles from Theraflu.
1. Influenza (flu). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351725. Accessed 08/03/20.
2. What to do about sinusitis. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/what-to-do-about-sinusitis. Accessed 08/03/20.
3. Flu. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/flu.html. Accessed 08/03/20.
4. Stuffy or runny nose – adult. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003049.htm. Accessed 08/03/20.
5. At-Home Remedies to Ease Your Sore Throat. Penn Medicine. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2018/february/sore-throat#:~:text=%E2%80%9CHoney%20is%20one%20of%20the,while%20working%20to%20reduce%20inflammation. Accessed 5/3/2021.