How to recover from the flu faster?
As we all know, the flu is a highly contagious respiratory infection. The culprit? The influenza virus. Flu symptoms usually last about a week, but the most severe symptoms only last for two to three days (though it may feel like an eternity). You may continue to experience weakness, fatigue, and a cough for another week after you recover.
The best way to get over this respiratory infection is to rest and stay hydrated. However, there are a few other things you can do to recover from the flu faster. If you’re at risk of complications, you may also want to check in with your doctor. We’ve spoken with some health experts to bring you some tips to help you recover more quickly. Check this out!
1. Stay home
Your body needs energy and time to fight off the flu virus, which means that your day-to-day routine should be put on the backburner.
You may be tempted to get ahead on laundry for the week or go grocery shopping, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice. So, stay home from work and put errands on pause until you start to feel better.
Besides helping you recover from the flu faster, staying home also helps prevent spreading the virus to other people in your workplace or community. The flu can be dangerous for small children and older adults, so it’s important that you avoid contact with others while you’re at risk and disinfect surfaces and personal objects regularly.
2. Sleep as much as possible
Another thing you can do to help you recover from the flu faster is to sleep. In fact, catching plenty of Zzz is the best medicine for your body while fighting the virus. Watching your favorite Netflix show curled up on the couch isn’t a bad idea, but you definitely should be binge-watching TV all night long.
So, make sure you go to bed earlier than usual and sleep in. If you can, taking a nap during the day will also give your body more time to recover from the flu faster. According to doctors, sleep and rest also slash your risk of serious flu complications, like pneumonia.
High fever is one of the common flu symptoms, and it can lead to sweating. You may also be experiencing bouts of diarrhea or vomiting. When this happens, your body needs lots of liquids to replace lost fluids and even more to fight off the infection.
Of course, water is best, but you can also drink tea with honey or herbal teas. These can provide relief from your symptoms while keeping you hydrated. When it comes to what you should avoid, caffeine and alcohol are definitely big no-nos because they are known to be dehydrating.
So, stick with the water and tea, and you should be able to recover from the flu faster.
4. Eat healthy foods
You may be tempted to drown your sorrow in a bag of potato chips and a bowl of ice cream, but your body needs better nutrition to fight off the infection. Fresh veggies and fruits offer essential antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that strengthen your immune system as it deals with the virus, so you may want to stick with those if you want to recover from the flu faster.
You may not have much of an appetite, and that’s actually normal when it comes to the flu, but it’s still important to have regular meals to maintain your strength. So, soups, lean meats, whole grains, fish, eggs, vegetables, and fruits should not be missing from your plate when you’re down with the flu.
Read on to discover other tips to help you recover from the flu faster!
5. Ease your breathing
It can be difficult to sleep with a cough and a stuffy nose. There are a couple of things you can try to help you breathe easier and have a better night’s sleep. You can take a hot shower or bath before bed, which can also help you improve circulation and soothe muscle soreness.
Another tip to help you recover from the flu faster would be to sleep with a vaporizer or humidifier in the room. This way, you ensure the air stays within ideal levels of humidity and is free from allergens that can worsen your flu symptoms.
Last but not least, use an extra pillow to prop yourself up and ease sinus pressure.
6. Take OTC medications
The flu and cold aisle of your local drug store is most likely packed with lots of different options. Some medications are used to tackle specific symptoms, like nasal congestion, while others can relieve many flu symptoms at once. By taking them, you’ll be able to recover from the flu faster.
Cough suppressants, such as dextromethorphan (Robitussin), can help you soothe a dry cough. Decongestants, like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), help open your nasal passages and alleviate pressure in your sinuses. Expectorants help loosen thick mucus and are effective for a cough that is wet and produces mucus.
Pain relievers help reduce headaches, fevers, and body aches. Examples include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Antihistamines tend to have sedative properties, which may help you sleep.
It’s important to read the product’s label to know the correct dose for each type of medication and ensure you’re not accidentally combining medications. For instance, medications like DayQuil are both a fever reducer and a pain reliever, so you shouldn’t take another on top of that.
Teens and children should never take aspirin for the flu due to the risk of a severe condition called Reye’s syndrome.
7. Have a spoonful of honey to soothe a cough
Honey is a popular natural remedy for soothing a cough or sore throat. To help you recover from the flu faster, mix honey with tea and drink it to stay hydrated.
According to one study, experts found that a dose of honey was more effective at tackling a nighttime cough than common cough suppressants in kids ages two to 18 with upper respiratory tract infections.
However, doctors point out that you shouldn’t give honey to children under the age of one year.
8. Try elderberry
If you want to recover from the flu faster, try elderberry. This dark purple berry has been used for hundreds of years in the treatment of the flu and colds. In one placebo-controlled study, people with the flu who took four elderberry lozenges a day reported a reduction in headache, nasal congestion, cough, fever, and muscle aches after 48 hours.
In another study, 60 people with flu-like symptoms who consumed 15 milliliters of elderberry syrup four times a day reported feeling better four days earlier than people who took a placebo.
But there’s more; a larger study of 312 air travelers found that 300 milligram capsules of elderberry extract consumed three times a day reduced flu and cold symptoms and duration in those who ended up getting sick compared to a placebo group.
This being said, elderberry seems like a great idea to help you recover from the flu faster. Elderberry syrups, lozenges, and capsules are available in stores and online. You shouldn’t eat these fruits raw, though, as they can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
Also, don’t forget that elderberry is a complementary therapy, so ensure you’re also treating your flu symptoms with OTC or prescription medication.
9. Add moisture to the air
Dry air can make the flu symptoms worse. A humidifier or vaporizer boosts the humidity level, helping to loosen up congestion.
There are many types of vaporizers and humidifiers available on the market. Examples include steam vaporizers and cool-mist humidifiers. These can be found easily for an affordable price at your local pharmacy, big-box store, or online. Here are some budget-friendly options from Amazon.
10. Ask your doctor about antiviral drugs
You can only be prescribed antiviral drugs by a doctor, so you must see one to buy them. These medications are usually reserved for people who have a higher risk of experiencing flu-related complications.
These drugs prevent the virus from replicating and spreading and, thus, can help you recover from the flu faster. They are most effective if you take them within 48 hours of having symptoms. You may want to ask your doctor for a prescription antiviral if you are at least 65, have a chronic medical condition, are taking other drugs that weaken your immune system, are Native American (American Indian or Alaska Native), live in a nursing home or long-term care facility, or have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40.
The most commonly prescribed antiviral medication is oseltamivir (Tamiflu). If taken within two days of the onset of symptoms, it can help you recover from the flu faster and reduce the severity of symptoms.
If you liked our article on the ways you can recover from the flu faster, you may also want to read 7 Risk Factors That Make Flu More Severe.