Got that gunky, junky, feverish feeling? Like thousands of other Americans this winter, you’ve got the flu.
Having the flu is never fun, what with fever, body aches, coughing and excess mucus clogging up your sinuses, but there are some simple things you can do to get through the worst of it and make yourself feel better naturally.
• Fever: Dress lightly and apply cool washcloths to the forehead. You can also take a tepid bath. Cold drinks can also reduce fever; drinking lots of fluids is always a good idea with an elevated temperature, which causes fluid loss and dehydration.
• Chills: Cover up with a blanket, but be sure to take it off as soon as you feel warmer, since you don’t want to raise your temperature.
• Sore throat: Tea with honey and lemon has always been the classic remedy for sore throats, but you might also want to consider mint tea, which is soothing. You can also suck on lozenges to relieve soreness.
• Sinus congestion: Apply a warm washcloth across cheekbones and nose. Massage your temples and cheekbones to aid drainage. To open up congested ears, hold your nostrils closed and blow gently. Take hot showers and breathe in the steam; massage of the cheekbones at this time is particularly effective. You can also fill a sink with hot water and lean over it to breathe in steam. Some people add a little Vicks Vaporub or eucalyptus oil to the water to enhance relief.
Also, drinking something warm can help ease congestion – tea and broth are particularly good – and eating hot soup gives you nutrition as well as being easy for your body to digest as it fights off the virus.
If you want, you can also try spicy foods, another natural way to open up sinuses.
• Cough: Sometimes, opening up the sinuses (see above) can fix the cough. If not, use a humidifier or vaporizer to add moisture to the air you breath. This usually works very well to ease coughing and congestion, especially at night.
You can also use extra pillows to elevate your head and alleviate the cough; some people will sleep in a recliner to get the same effect.
Drink plenty of fluids to help mucus flow more easily.
• General discomfort: Rest! It’s often hard to do if you have small children or an otherwise busy life, but the more rest you get, the quicker you’ll get over the flu. Try not to worry about what’s going on at work or about the dishes piling up in the sink. Getting better should be your top priority.
Do something that makes you feel better, whether it’s wearing your favorite pair of fuzzy socks, eating a piece of fudge, binge-watching a favorite TV show, or having your significant other massage your neck.
• If it gets worse: You need to seek medical attention immediately if you have trouble breathing, you run a high fever for more than three days, have ear or facial pain, or can’t shake your cough after a week.