Sometimes, no matter how many remedies we use, how many supplements we take, or how many preventative measures we stick to, we still come down with the latest bout of cold or flu. It’s not that we were negligent in our efforts to stay well, it’s just that sometimes there really just isn’t anything you can do to prevent getting sick.
I know quite a few people who are strict healthy eaters who are basically a perfect walking example of pristine health who catch colds. Sure, it may be way less often than most people, but it does happen.
It might be because you’ve been stressed more than usual or didn’t get enough restful sleep. Maybe you got too cold or didn’t dry your hair before bedtime. Whatever the case may be, the fact of the matter is your immune system just wasn’t up to the task and now you’ve been hit with a case of fever, body aches, respiratory symptoms, and maybe even a sore throat.
So, if this is you the good news is you can do a few things to help make your cold or flu a little less crappy and bit more bearable.
12 Ways to Feel Better During a Cold or Flu
Of course, if you’re dealing with some pretty serious symptoms then, by all means, go to the doctor! You can still use the remedies below to help support and nourish your immune system, but it’s always best to get some medicine when things get serious.
However, if you’re experiencing the typical run-of-the-mill symptoms then these are the perfect remedies to help you feel better while also shortening the duration of a cold so that you can get well faster.
1. A Hot Bath
I don’t know about you, but getting into a nice hot bath filled with Epsom salts and essential oils with a tall glass of lemon water is incredibly healing for colds and flu.
The hot water of the bath helps increase circulation and soothe achy tired muscles while also creating a lung and sinus clarifying steam. Adding Epsom salts is also a great way to ease body aches associated with cold and flu. I highly recommend it!
I recommend soaking for a good 20-30 minutes but I tend to soak for quite a bit longer. Just make sure to have plenty of cold water to drink to stay hydrated and prevent overheating.
Be sure to read up on which essential oils are safe for children here before adding EOs to your child’s bath.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar (raw)
Raw apple cider vinegar is an excellent remedy for dry, itchy, or sore throats and can even help alleviate digestive upset when diluted with a bit of water. It’s full of good nutrients like vitamin C and has a decent amount of probiotics as well if you get the kind with the “mother”.
I recommend adding 1 tsp of raw apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drinking it throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated and to help soothe heartburn, an upset stomach, and intestinal distress.
You can add also add a small splash to a shot glass and top if off with water to use as an effective gargle.
3. Broth or Soup
When we’re sick, especially with the flu, the last thing you want to do is eat. While it’s certainly important to feed a cold and starve a fever, it’s still important to get some nutrients into your body that can be used quickly without too much work.
Broths and soups (especially homemade bone broth or mineral-rich veggie stock) are a great way to help hydrate the body while providing simple to absorb nutrients.
There’s a reason your grandmother preaches about the healing power of chicken soup! It’s because it really does help you feel better by warming you up, soothing a sore throat, clearing up stuffy lungs and sinuses, and gives your body a little bit of much-needed energy.
You can learn how to make my Chicken and Nettle soup here.
Elderberry is the king of cold and flu remedies! In fact, it is known to cut a cold or flu’s duration by about 4 days and is effective against 8 different strains of flu virus. For this reason, I always have a stock of dried elderberries in my pantry for making elderberry tinctures, elixirs, syrups, and teas to help boost immunity and get rid of illness faster.
You can get the dried elderberries I use here.
It goes without saying how important it is to stay hydrated during a cold or flu. This is because you’re body simply cannot detox or fight off illness without proper hydration.
This is especially true during a fever where you can easily sweat out essential fluids and become dehydrated. Drinking electrolytes are the best way to replenish the water lost during a fever.
This is my favorite electrolyte to use.
6. Face Steam
Have you ever had a cold that made your head feel 10 times bigger than it really is? I’m positive you know the feeling!
Having stuffy sinuses where the mucus just won’t budge can actually lengthen a cold because the germs and bacteria are literally stuck. While they may be happy to hang out and multiply, it’s best to get them out as soon and as often as possible.
To do this, make a face steam by boiling some water (preferably filtered) and pouring it into a large bowl with a few drops of clarifying essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus, or lemon. Drape your head with a towel and hover your face 8 or so inches above the bowl and breathe in as much as possible through your nose.
Be sure to take care with how hot the steam is because you CAN get burned! You can lower or elevate your face as is comfortable, just be sure the steam does not feel too hot.
I recommend steaming for a good 15-20 minutes for best results. You can blow your nose periodically as needed to help decongest the sinuses.
Be sure to read my post on which essential oils are safe to use for children before using this method for your kids.
7. Fresh Ginger
Steeping a tea made from fresh peeled and sliced ginger root is one of the best remedies for cough, sore throat, tummy upset, chills, and lung congestion I know of. Its warming nature is perfect for stimulating circulation and opening the sinuses to allow for better expectoration when the lungs are bogged down by mucus.
I have really loved having a batch of ginger honey on hand for treating all sorts of cold and flu symptoms. You can learn how to make it here.
Don’t want to make your own? Get it here.
8. Fresh Lemon Juice
During the colder months of the year, you can almost always find me sipping a mug of hot lemon water in place of regular water. Not only does it taste fresh and delicious, but it also provides my body with a steady flow of cold and flu-fighting vitamin C.
Using fresh lemon as a tea is also a great way to soothe a sore throat and ease cough while also keeping you hydrated and warm.
You can read more on the benefits of drinking lemon water here.
9. Herbal Tea
Herbal teas are good for all sorts of things including easing the symptoms of cold and flu. Depending on which one you choose they can induce restful sleep, clear your sinuses, soothe digestive upset, reduce fever, stimulate your immune system, and a whole lot more!
Here are a few of my must-have herbal teas:
• Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Plus
• Traditional Medicinals Gypsy Cold Care
• Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat
• Yogi Tea Cold Season
• Yogi Tea Stomach Ease
• Yogi Tea Throat Comfort
• Yogi Tea Breathe Deep
• Yogi Tea Chamomile
• Yogi Tea Peppermint
• Yogi Tea Ginger
10. Lots of Water
This one is pretty obvious but I’m positive most people don’t actually do this, myself included. I’m just not a huge water drinker!
However, drinking enough fluids is essential if you want to help your body get over a cold of flu faster. In case you didn’t know, being dehydrated while sick actually inhibits the body’s ability to flush away wastes and other impurities which can actually really bog down not only your liver, but your immune system as well.
To keep your body’s elimination pathways working optimally by drinking enough water while sick! If you don’t enjoy drinking water, try adding fresh lemon, cucumber, mint, or berries to it to give it some tasty flavor.
11. Raw Garlic
Eating some raw garlic is an excellent way to open the lungs and sinuses, soothe a sore throat, ease cough, and support your body during a cold or flu by killing off invading germs and bacteria. This will lessen the load on your immune system while also giving your body a bit of simple to assimilate nutrients.
To get more garlic in your system, you can simply eat a couple raw cloves OR you can do what I do and make a delicious garlic honey you can take by the spoonful or even stir into tea, broth, or soup.
You can learn how to make garlic infused honey here.
12. Vitamin C
This is an oldie but a goody. Everyone knows the important of taking vitamin C to help boost immunity during cold and flu season. I recommend taking at least 500mg every few hours to help lessen the duration of a cold and alleviate symptoms.
This is the vitamin C I like to use.
What have been your tried and true remedies for feeling better during a cold or flu?
You may also enjoy reading:
How to Make Slippery Elm Lozenges
Natural Cold Remedies Part 1- The Healing Power of Elder
Natural Cold Remedies Part 2- The Healing Power of Ginger
Natural Cold Remedies- Part 3- The Healing Power of Garlic
Cold Bustin’ Elderberry Tea
ESSENTIAL OILS FOR BOOSTING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND FIGHTING COLD AND FLU
IMMUNE BOOSTING BLEND FOR COLDS AND FLU
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