How to cure a flu

Table of contents:

How to cure a flu
How to cure a flu

Commonly known as the flu, influenza is a viral infection that attacks cells in the lungs and airways (nose, sinuses, and throat). Although in most cases it can last between one and two weeks, the flu can be very dangerous, especially for children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or with chronic illnesses. Getting the vaccine every year is the best way to avoid catching the flu, but if you're sick, it's best to know how to treat your symptoms.


Part 1 of 4: Identify the symptoms of the flu

Treat the Flu Step 1
Treat the Flu Step 1

Step 1. Recognize the symptoms of the flu

Before you can effectively treat your disease, you must be sure that you have the infection. Indeed, its symptoms are similar to those of the common cold, except that they are more severe and appear much faster. Flu symptoms can last between 2 and 3 weeks. The main symptoms of influenza include:

  • a cough, often severe
  • a sore throat
  • a fever above 39 degrees
  • headaches and muscle pain
  • a runny nose or stuffy nose
  • chills and sweats
  • feeling tired or weak
  • difficulty in breathing
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhea (especially, in young children)
Treat the Flu Step 2
Treat the Flu Step 2

Step 2. Distinguish between the flu and the common cold

Although the flu has symptoms similar to the common cold, cold symptoms come on more slowly and follow a predictable pattern characterized by an upsurge and regression of signs. The main symptoms of colds usually last less than a week or two and include:

  • a slight cough
  • a little fever or not
  • mild pain or headache
  • nasal congestion
  • a runny nose or stuffy nose
  • itchy or sore throat
  • sneezing
  • tearing
  • feeling slightly tired or not
Treat the Flu Step 3
Treat the Flu Step 3

Step 3. Know the difference between the flu and the “stomach flu”

The infection that is usually called “stomach flu” has absolutely nothing in common with influenza, but rather a type of viral gastroenteritis virus. The flu affects the respiratory system, while the “stomach flu” attacks the intestines and is usually milder. Common symptoms of viral gastroenteritis include:

  • diarrhea that contains a lot of water
  • abdominal cramps and pain
  • swelling of the abdomen with intestinal gas
  • nausea or vomiting
  • headaches or muscle stiffness (mild or occasional)
  • a slight fever
  • Symptoms of viral gastroenteritis usually only last a day or two, but can also reach 10 days.
Treat the Flu Step 4
Treat the Flu Step 4

Step 4. Obtain an idea of the cases that may warrant seeking emergency medical treatment

In extreme cases, the flu can cause acute dehydration or symptoms severe enough to require hospitalization. See your doctor right away if you or your child has the following symptoms:

  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • a feeling of tightness or pain in the chest
  • severe and persistent vomiting
  • dizziness or confusion
  • bluish complexion or purplish-colored lips
  • convulsions
  • signs of dehydration (dry mucous membranes, lethargy, sunken eyes, decreased strength of the urine stream, or very dark urine)
  • migraine, neck pain, or stiff neck
  • flu-like symptoms that get better and then come back with more severity

Part 2 of 4: treat the flu with natural remedies

Treat the Flu Step 5
Treat the Flu Step 5

Step 1. Get enough rest

Sometimes a person with a cold continues to go to school or work, but this behavior is by no means recommended for a person with the flu. You absolutely must rest. Taking a few days off will give your body time to recover.

  • Since the flu is a contagious illness, resting is as planning for those around you as it is for your own recovery.
  • If you have the flu, there's a good chance you will have a stuffy nose. To make your breathing easier at night, try lifting your head with an extra pillow or sleeping in a chair.
Treat the Flu Step 6
Treat the Flu Step 6

Step 2. Hydrate yourself

Having a fever causes dehydration, so you need to drink more fluids than usual to fight the illness.

  • Drink hot liquids like tea or hot water with lemon. This tip helps relieve sore throats and unclog sinuses, while keeping you hydrated.
  • Avoid taking alcoholic, caffeinated and carbonated drinks. Choose fluids that can replenish your body with nutrients and minerals, not depleting them.
  • Have hot soups. If you are suffering from the flu, you may experience nausea and lack of appetite. Drinking hot broth or soup is a great way to fuel your system without straining your stomach. Studies have shown that chicken soup can really reduce inflammation inside the airways. So if you're regaining your strength, eat a bowl of chicken soup or two to speed up your recovery.
  • If you have also had vomiting, it could be an electrolyte imbalance. Start taking an oral rehydration solution like Ceralyte or an energy drink with electrolytes. This will allow you to recharge your batteries.
Treat the Flu Step 7
Treat the Flu Step 7

Step 3. Take a vitamin C supplement

Vitamin C is essential in strengthening the immune system, and studies suggest that a “megadose” of vitamin C may help relieve cold and flu symptoms.

  • Take 1000 mg of vitamin C supplement per hour for the first 6 hours when symptoms appear. Then decrease the dose to 1000 mg 3 times a day. Once you feel better, do not continue to take extremely high doses of vitamin C. Although it is rare to see cases of vitamin C toxicity, it can happen.
  • Orange juice is a good source of natural vitamin C, but it cannot provide an effective dosage of a megadose of vitamin C.
  • Consult your child's doctor before giving high doses of the vitamin.
Treat the Flu Step 8
Treat the Flu Step 8

Step 4. Evacuate the mucus deposits from your nose as many times as necessary

When you have a nasal congestion, it is important to always clear your airways of mucus deposits in order to protect yourself against sinus or ear infections. Evacuate the mucus formed in your nose by doing this.

  • Blow your nose. It's a simple trick, but also effective. You just need to blow your nose as often as possible to keep your airways clear.
  • Use a neti pot. These devices allow you to naturally unblock your nasal passages with a saline solution.
  • Take a warm bath. The steam of hot water helps dissolve mucus deposits in order to get rid of them.
  • Use a humidifier or vaporizer in your bedroom to make breathing easier.
  • Use a saline nasal spray. You can also make your own nasal spray with saline water or drops.
Treat the Flu Step 9
Treat the Flu Step 9

Step 5. Use a heating pad

The effect of heat helps reduce stiffness and pain that can be seen as symptoms of the flu. Use an electric heating pad or fill a hot water bottle, then place your object on your chest, back, or any painful part of your body. Make sure that this object (pillow or bottle) is not too hot to the point of burning your skin or that it stays on your body for too long. Never sleep with a heating pad or hot water bottle on your skin.

Treat the Flu Step 10
Treat the Flu Step 10

Step 6. Relieve fever symptoms with a cold compress

You can reduce the discomfort caused by fever symptoms by placing a cool, damp towel over any part of your body that you feel feverish. Applying a towel to the forehead and around the eyes can also help relieve nasal congestion.

  • You can get a reusable gelling pad at most drugstores and it can help you feel better, too.
  • To relieve a child with a temperature over 39 degrees or who seems very uncomfortable, apply a towel soaked in water to his forehead to lower his body temperature.
Treat the Flu Step 11
Treat the Flu Step 11

Step 7. Gargle with salt water

Just using a saline solution can relieve the sore throat associated with the flu. Mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of lukewarm water.

Gargle for a minute or two, then spit out the water. Do not swallow the salt water solution

Treat the Flu Step 12
Treat the Flu Step 12

Step 8. Consider using a herbal remedy

There is very little scientific evidence regarding the treatment of influenza with the use of herbal remedies. However, you can get some relief by using any of these remedies. If you are on medication, have a chronic illness, or are treating a child, consult your doctor before taking any herbal medicine.

  • Take 300 mg of Echinacea 3 times a day. Echinacea can help shorten the duration of symptoms. Pregnant and lactating women, people taking immunosuppressants, and patients with ragweed allergies should not use this herb.
  • Take 200 mg of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) every day. American ginseng (which is different from Siberian or Asian ginseng) can help relieve flu symptoms.
  • Take 4 tablespoons of Sambucol, an elderberry extract every day. Results have shown that this syrup can quickly relieve flu symptoms. You can also make elderberry tea infusion by steeping 3 to 5 grams of dried elderflower in 250 ml of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Filter then drink your infusion three times a day.
Treat the Flu Step 13
Treat the Flu Step 13

Step 9. Consider a eucalyptus vapor treatment

This method can help relieve a cough or congestion. Add 5-10 drops of eucalyptus oil to 2 cups of boiling water. Let it boil for a minute, then remove from the heat.

  • Move the pot containing the boiling water to a stable surface, such as a table or counter.
  • Cover your head with a clean towel, then tilt your head over the pot. Move your face 30 centimeters away from the water so you don't get burned.
  • Inhale the steam for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • You can use peppermint or spearmint oil in place of eucalyptus. Menthol which is none other than the active ingredient in mint is an excellent decongestant.
  • Do not get essential oils into your lungs, as some can be toxic.
Treat the Flu Step 14
Treat the Flu Step 14

Step 10. Take oscillococcinum

This natural alternative used as a treatment for flu-like conditions is prepared from autolysate of Barbie duck liver and heart. This technique is very popular in Europe.

Studies are inconclusive as to the effectiveness of oscillococcinum. Some people may experience side effects such as a headache

Part 3 of 4: treat the flu with a medical remedy

Treat the Flu Step 15
Treat the Flu Step 15

Step 1. Get over-the-counter medications to treat your symptoms

The main symptoms of influenza can be effectively treated with drugs you can buy without a prescription at a pharmacy. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a drug treatment that is best for you. If you have medical problems such as high blood pressure, liver problems, kidney problems, or if you are a pregnant woman, seek medical advice before taking other medicines.

  • Pain associated with flu symptoms can be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (often abbreviated as NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Remember to follow the dosage of the medicine on the package. It is not recommended to administer aspirin to children under the age of 18.
  • Take antihistamines and decongestants to treat nasal congestion.
  • Take cough suppressants and expectorants to treat a cough. If you have a dry, painful cough, your best bet would be to use a cough suppressant that contains dextromethorphan. However, if your cough is accompanied by mucus, it will be more appropriate for you to take an expectorant that contains guaifenesin as an active ingredient to treat your cough.
  • Be careful not to overdose on paracetamol. Since many medicines contain the same active ingredients, take the time to carefully read the label on the medicine packaging. Follow the dosage indicated by the manufacturer and do not exceed the recommended dose.
Treat the Flu Step 16
Treat the Flu Step 16

Step 2. Give the children the correct dosage

To treat a child, use paracetamol or ibuprofen. Follow the directions on the medication packaging to adhere to the recommended dose. You can alternate between paracetamol and ibuprofen if your child's fever is not responding to just one medicine, but be sure to keep track of each pill you give them.

  • You can also consult online guides to learn all about ibuprofen and paracetamol.
  • Do not give ibuprofen to a child who is vomiting or is hydrated.
  • Never give aspirin to a child under the age of 18. This increases the risk of developing Reye's syndrome.
Treat the Flu Step 17
Treat the Flu Step 17

Step 3. Take prescription medication

If you decide to go see your doctor for help in treating your condition, one of the following medications may be prescribed for you depending on the strains of influenza virus in circulation. These drugs can help reduce symptoms and the disease itself, if taken within 48 hours of the onset of the flu.

  • Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is taken by mouth. Tamiflu is the only influenza medication approved by the FDA for use in children under 1 year of age.
  • Zanamivir (Relenza) is an antiviral drug taken by mouth inhalation for the treatment and prevention of influenza. People 7 years of age or older can take it. People with asthma or other lung problems should not take it.
  • Peramivir (Rapivab) is a phase IV neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral drug. People aged 18 or over can use it.
  • Amantadine (Symmetrel) and rimantadine (Flumadine) have been used to treat influenza type A, but many strains (including H1N1) have now been found to be resistant to these antivirals. These drugs are generally not prescribed to patients.
Treat the Flu Step 18
Treat the Flu Step 18

Step 4. Understand that antibiotics do not treat the flu

Influenza is a viral illness and your doctor will only be able to prescribe antivirals such as Tamiflu. Don't take antibiotics to fight the flu.

  • Sometimes you could have a bacterial infection and the flu at the same time. In this case, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic. Only take the medicines that have been prescribed for you.
  • Taking antibiotics when you don't need them can cause unkilled bacteria to become more resistant to drug treatments, making them harder to kill with medication. Never take antibiotics unless they are prescribed for you.

Part 4 of 4: prevent the flu

Treat the Flu Step 19
Treat the Flu Step 19

Step 1. Get vaccinated before the flu season begins

There are health centers in the United States that monitor disease trends and statistics globally in order to develop a vaccine against the strains of the influenza virus that appear to be the most dangerous in any given year. Flu shots are available in doctor's offices, health clinics, and even pharmacies. These vaccines do not guarantee that you will be free from the flu for a season, but they can protect you against different strains of the virus and reduce your chances of getting the disease by about 60%. The influenza vaccine is available in injection and nasal form.

  • In France, the epidemic occurs between the months of November and April. It very often begins at the end of December, the beginning of January and it can last about 9 weeks.
  • You may have mild symptoms, such as pain, headache, or low fever after receiving the vaccine. Be aware that the vaccine does not cause the flu.
Treat the Flu Step 20
Treat the Flu Step 20

Step 2. Talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated if you have certain symptoms

In general, all people over 6 months of age should be vaccinated against influenza, unless there is a reported contraindication. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated:

  • a severe allergy to chicken eggs or gelatin
  • a history of serious reactions to a flu shot
  • moderate or severe illness with fever (you can get the vaccine after your fever is gone)
  • a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • chronic disease such as heart disease, lung disease, kidney or liver problems, etc. (only when you receive the vaccine as a nasal spray)
  • asthma (only when you receive the vaccine as a nasal spray)
Treat the Flu Step 21
Treat the Flu Step 21

Step 3. Choose the type of vaccine

The flu vaccine is available as an injection and as a nasal spray. Most patients can choose one or the other, and you should always consider details like age and health concerns when choosing your vaccine.

  • The injectable vaccine is approved for children 6 months and older, as well as for pregnant women and patients with most chronic diseases.
  • People under the age of 65 should not receive a high dose influenza vaccine. People under the age of 18 or over 64 should not receive the vaccine by the intradermal route, which is injected into the skin and not into the muscle. Infants less than 6 months old cannot be vaccinated against the flu.
  • The vaccine as a nasal spray is approved for patients between 2 and 49 years of age.
  • Children under 2 years old and adults over 50 years old cannot receive the vaccine by the nasal route. Children between the ages of 2 and 17 who take a long course of aspirin cannot receive the vaccine by the nasal route. Children with asthma 2 to 4 years old should not use the vaccine by the nasal route.
  • Pregnant women and patients with weakened immune systems should not receive the vaccine as a nasal spray. People caring for patients with severely weakened immune systems should also not receive the vaccine through the nose. It is recommended that they stay away from their patients for 7 days after vaccination.
  • You should not get the nasal vaccine if you have taken antiviral medicines for the treatment of influenza within the past 48 hours.
Treat the Flu Step 22
Treat the Flu Step 22

Step 4. Take the flu very seriously

The flu is very contagious and can cause serious medical complications. Thanks to vaccination, the death rate from influenza has steadily declined for decades, from 40 per 100,000 in the 1940s to 0.56 per 100,000 in the 1990s. However, it is important to get treatment if you have flu symptoms and do your best to avoid contagious situations.

The 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza caused more than 2,000 deaths worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe another pandemic of such severity could occur, especially if people do not get their proper vaccinations

Treat the Flu Step 23
Treat the Flu Step 23

Step 5. Observe the rules of hygiene

Washing your hands frequently, especially after returning from a trip, is a great way to avoid getting the flu. Carry antibacterial hand cloths with you when you are in places where you cannot use a sink and soap.

  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or antibacterial soap.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your nose, mouth, and eyes.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a fabric if you have one. If you don't have one, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. This way you are less likely to spread germs.
Treat the Flu Step 24
Treat the Flu Step 24

Step 6. Stay Healthy

Eating healthy, taking recommended daily doses of vitamins and nutrients, and staying fit through exercise are all great ways to protect yourself from the flu. If you contract the virus, your body will be well equipped to cope with the disease.

Popular by topic