The Best Methods for Treating Cold and Flu Symptoms

When you feel the aches, fever and sniffles of the flu or a cold, quick treatment is important. Although there is no cure for either of these respiratory illnesses, you can still take steps to ease the misery. Cold and flu treatment methods begin with rest, lots of clear fluids and healthy meal plans, but there are plenty of other ways to speed up your recovery.

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Boosting the Immune System

You may find relief from symptoms by simply fortifying your body’s natural disease-fighting abilities. To strengthen your immunities and shorten the duration of your illness, take Echinacea, vitamin C or zinc supplements at the first sign of sickness. Garlic bolsters the immune system as well. Chicken soup is also great for healing because it contains numerous infection fighters, including cysteine, an anti-inflammatory amino acid.

Easing the Pain

If your cold and flu symptoms are moderate, you can likely reduce them with items from your kitchen. Some common home remedies are:

  • Honey to calm a sore throat or cough
  • Licorice root or chamomile tea for irritated mucous membranes
  • Salt water to reduce throat inflammation
  • Ginger for nausea
  • Peppermint oil massages for sore muscles

Relieving Congestion

Whether it’s in the nose or chest, congestion can quickly drain your energy. To clear away any annoying mucus, try using a saline nasal spray or a neti pot. Steam also shrinks mucous membranes, so you may want to turn up the heat on your shower if your nasal passages are blocked. Hot peppers containing capsaicin work wonders for stuffiness as well.

Using Medications

Some colds and flu viruses are just too powerful to battle without medication. In this case, you may want to try prescription or over-the-counter medicines such as:

  • Ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen for fever and body aches
  • Guaifenesin-based medication for cough and congestion
  • Newer versions of antihistamines for nasal discharge
  • Tamiflu or Relenza for lessening symptom severity

Both the flu and a cold typically last one or two weeks, but some viruses create other health issues that persist for much longer. If no cold and flu treatment seems to help or if you develop unusual symptoms, contact your physician. A professional can offer guidance based on your individual situation, so that you can feel better as quickly as possible.