Managing Flu Symptoms
Fever, sore throat, runny nose—the symptoms seem to pile on when you have the flu. While a prescription from your provider might be the first line of defense, there are also some home remedies and over-the-counter solutions that can help ease your ailments. We asked some Harbin Clinic physicians and providers how to best manage your flu symptoms at home so you can be out of bed and on your feet in no time.
Fever, Aches & Pains
The first thing you can do to reduce a fever and muscle aches is to take acetaminophen. Drinking plenty of clear liquids is also crucial, including water, sports drinks, broth and herbal teas to stay hydrated. Adding a zinc supplement or vitamin could also be beneficial since studies show that zinc can help ease cold and flu symptoms.
To relieve congestion, you can use a vaporizer or saline nasal spray. If you don’t have a vaporizer, you can breathe in steam from a warm water pot or a hot shower, instead. This can help soothe your nose, sinuses, throat and lungs. It can also loosen mucous congestion. You can take over-the-counter decongestants, but be mindful if you are already taking acetaminophen since it’s included in some decongestants, and you don’t want to double your dosage.
Sore or Scratchy Throat
If your throat is irritated, gargling with saline water two to four times a day can ease the soreness and rid some of the mucous. Sore throat spray, lozenges and hot tea may also help soothe your throat. Turmeric, ginger, and garlic can help ease a sore throat and can be added to a hot tea.
Eating a simple diet is the best way to avoid further irritating an upset stomach. Sticking to foods such as crackers, gelatin, soup, toast, rice and applesauce can be more gentle on your stomach. Some foods to avoid while having a stomach ache are milk, cheese and meats, as well as any foods that are spicy, fried or fatty.
When to See a Doctor
Most people will have a mild case of the flu and do not require medical care or antiviral drugs. However, if you have symptoms of the flu and are in a higher-risk group, or if you are very sick and worried about your illness, contact your doctor or visit Immediate Care. If you have emergency warning signs of the flu illness, you should go to the ER. A list of those signs can be found here.
For more information regarding the flu and to see where you can receive a flu shot near you, visit our Be an Antibody Builder page.