The holidays are almost here, but cold and flu season has already arrived. More than 6 billion colds are reported in the United States each year, and studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have concluded that close to 60 million people are affected by the flu. Based on those odds, it’s not a question of “if” you will come down with a cold or flu virus as much as it is “when.” Instead of rushing to a hospital or doctor’s office when these symptoms arise, there are quite a few natural remedies that can be used to treat these illnesses from home.
One symptom that is common in people suffering from the influenza virus or a common cold is congestion, so finding an effective way to break up and remove the congestion will be key. There are many different things you may already have in your home that can do the trick.
Inhale Steam Regularly
Whether you know it or not, steam can go a long way when it comes to treating common cold and flu symptoms. Breathing steam into your nose will quickly ease any congestion and help stop it from dripping. Before making the decision to purchase a humidifier, keep in mind that you can generate steam easily by just boiling water on your kitchen stove. You can also close yourself in the bathroom with a hot shower as you allow the moisture and steam to do its job.
Eat Chicken Noodle Soup
It may seem that eating chicken noodle soup as a remedy is an old wives’ tale taught to young children when they’re sick. However, scientific studies have confirmed that a hot bowl of chicken soup is very effective for treating a cold or the flu. Inhaling all the steam that rises from the soup will ease any nasal congestion, and you can avoid becoming dehydrated just by sipping the fluids. Researchers have been able to verify that there are anti-inflammatory properties within the broth that can be used as medicine without the need for a prescription.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
When you’ve been told in the past to drink plenty of fluids while sick, the reasoning behind it may not have been very clear. Drink at least eight glasses of water, juice or herbal tea each day. Doing so will all keep your throat moist, minimize the risk of dehydration, and ease congestion. Stay away from all caffeinated drinks, including sodas and coffee, which are diuretics and can cause dehydration. For maximum benefits, drink hot tea because the steam works well with the antioxidants found in most green and black teas.
Use Saline Solution Wisely
If you have any over-the-counter saline solution in your home, this can also be used to treat many of your symptoms. Whether you decide to spray or drip it into your nose, it can thin out any nasal secretions that have accumulated and clear out excess mucus, bacteria, and other virus particles. It is recommended to spray the solution into the left nostril while the right nostril is closed and vice versa for maximum coverage.
Is a Flu Shot Necessary?
With direct access to these effective remedies in your own home, it may become easy to question whether having a yearly flu shot is even necessary. The idea of volunteering to be pricked with any type of needle might not be a very pleasant thought for most people. However, studies have confirmed the vaccine that is administered through these shots is one of the most effective ways to prevent the influenza virus from infecting you. Based on statistics confirmed by the American Lung Association, the influenza virus kills tens of thousands of people annually and hospitalizes more than 200,000 people within the United States each year. While it is good to know that there are quite a few natural remedies that can be used to treat the flu, effective prevention is always the best op