If you have the flu, you probably aren’t feeling too well right about now. Here’s the bad news: there’s no cure for it and it usually lasts for one to two weeks. The good news? We’ll tell you about some simple flu treatments that can help you feel better in the meantime (plus, we’ll give you suggestions to help you avoid the flu next time around). Here’s how to treat the flu—or at least those pesky flu symptoms:
5 Ways to Treat the Flu
- Rest up: When you first come down with the flu, rest is what will help give your body the energy it needs to fight the flu virus and flu symptoms. This is when you should spend lots of time in bed and on the couch. Stay at home and rest, especially during the first 24 hours after becoming ill (unless medical attention isnecessary).
- Avoid contact with others: If you think you have the flu, it’s best to stay home and avoid close contact with those that are healthy. Flu viruses commonly spread through airborne droplets created when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking lots of liquids like water, sports drinks or electrolyte beverages will help prevent dehydration and treat the flu. And don’t forget tea and broth—hot liquids help relieve nasal congestion and soothe the uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat.
- See your doctor: It’s important to note that if you become very sick with the flu or are at a high risk of developing complications from the flu, you should call your doctor. He or she may put you on antiviral drugs within the 48 hours of your symptoms, which can lessen the severity and duration of flu symptoms.
4 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
As you’re figuring out how to treat the flu, it’s also important to remember that the best protection against cold and flu season is a healthy immune system. So here’s how to keep it strong:
- De-stress: Research shows that stress decreases your ability to stay healthy, especially during cold and flu season. Try taking a mini meditation break during the day—just close your eyes and focus on breathing in and out for a fewminutes (and if you have even more time, go for it!).
- Get enough sleep: When you consistently sleep seven to eight hours a night, your body has a chance to repair cells and maintain your immune system.
- Eat well: A nutritious and well-balanced diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Make sure to include a good variety of fruits and vegetables in your daily meals—along with protein and healthy fats.
- Exercise: A common recommendation is to try for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least three times a week.