Natural ways to fight the flu

Flu season is longer than you might think — it runs through fall and winter and even into spring, peaking sometime from late November through March.

Here are some natural flu remedies at home to help you get well:

1. Sleep it off. Getting sleep and taking time to recuperate is the best thing you can do for yourself, your co-workers, and your family. And the truth is, when you’re feeling sick, you won’t feel like doing much else. Sleep as much as you can and avoid contact with others until you have been fever-free — without taking any medication — for 24 to 48 hours. When you’re resting, place an extra pillow under your head to help drain your nasal passages and make sleeping more comfortable.

2. Gargle. If you end up getting the flu, it’s important to control your symptoms. If you have a sore throat, gargle with water or salt water. Gargling may help reduce swelling in the throat and loosen mucus. For extra protection from flu symptoms, consider gargling with green tea.

3. Get in sync with zinc. Zinc lozenges can help you feel better faster if you start using them as soon as you feel fluish. Zinc may help boost immunity, which can shorten the duration or severity of the flu.

4. Drink up. If you have a fever, you are at risk for dehydration, so it’s important to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids. Warm beverages like hot tea can be especially soothing for flu symptoms.

5. Go for good old chicken soup. A study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics showed that carnosine, a compound in chicken soup, can help strengthen the body’s immune system and help fight off the flu in its early days.  

7. Take a steamy shower. Steaming up your bathroom or taking a steamy shower can help moisturize your nasal passages. This can help clear out mucus in your nose and throat. If you are lightheaded or feel weak from flu symptoms, sit while steaming.

You should be feeling better within five to seven days, but if you are not and still have a fever or have started to feel badly again, be sure to call your doctor.