With no cure in sight for the cold or the flu, over-the-counter treatments can at best bring symptom relief or shorten the duration of those symptoms. Or you can take the natural approach. Here are some home remedies that may help you feel better along the way.
Blow your nose often: It is important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your head. But when you blow hard, pressure can cause an earache. The best way to blow your nose: Press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other. Wash your hands after blowing your nose.
Stay rested: Resting when you first come down with a cold or the flu helps your body direct its energy toward the immune battle. This battle taxes the body. So give it a little help by lying down under a blanket.
Gargle: Gargling can moisten a sore throat and bring temporary relief. Try a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water, four times daily. To reduce the tickle in your throat, try an astringent gargle — such as tea that contains tannin — to tighten the membranes.
Drink hot liquids: Warm liquids help relieve nasal congestion, help prevent dehydration and soothe the uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat.
Take a steamy shower: Steamy showers moisturise your nasal passages and relax you. If you are dizzy from the flu, run a steamy shower while you sit on a chair nearby and take a sponge bath.
Apply hot or cold packs around your congested sinuses: Either temperature may help you feel more comfortable. Take a damp washcloth and heat it for 20 seconds at a time in a microwave. Or take a small bag of frozen peas to use as a cold pack.
Sleep with an extra pillow under your head: This will help with the drainage of nasal passages. If the angle is too awkward, try placing the pillows between the mattress and the box springs to create a more gradual slope.