Best Ways To Manage Cold And Flu At Home

Mary Joseph
Mary Joseph July 26, 2023
Updated 2023/07/26 at 4:21 PM


Experiencing body aches, fever, chills, and nasal congestion can cause significant discomfort.

Although home remedies cannot cure a cold or the flu, they can provide relief from symptoms like body aches, fever, chills, and nasal congestion while you are recovering.

However, if your symptoms do not improve or you encounter difficulties in breathing, experience a rapid heartbeat, feel faint, or develop severe symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical assistance.

In this article, discover various home remedies that you can try to alleviate the effects of cold and flu.

Best Ways To Manage Cold And Flu At Home

Recognize When To Avoid Treating Symptoms:

It may be surprising, but the bothersome symptoms you’re currently experiencing are actually a natural part of the healing process. They serve as evidence that your immune system is actively fighting off illness. For example, when you have a fever, your body raises its temperature to create an environment that is unfavourable for viruses, aiming to eliminate them.

Additionally, a fever enhances the circulation of germ-killing proteins in your bloodstream, leading to more efficient elimination of pathogens. Therefore, enduring a moderate fever for a day or two may actually speed up your recovery.

Coughing is another symptom that plays a productive role. It helps to clear your airways by removing thick mucus that can carry germs to your lungs and other parts of your body. Similarly, a stuffy nose is often best left untreated or managed mildly.

While a decongestant like Sudafed constricts blood vessels in your nose and throat, which reduces blood flow, it is often beneficial to have increased blood flow in the infected area.

This increased blood flow helps warm the affected region and aids in carrying germs out of your body through secretions.

Blow Your Nose Frequently (and Correctly):

Regularly clearing your nose is crucial when experiencing a cold instead of repeatedly sniffing mucus back into your nasal passages. However, exerting excessive force while blowing your nose can potentially push bacteria-laden phlegm into your ear canals, resulting in ear pain.

The most effective technique for blowing your nose entails gently blowing while applying light pressure with a finger to one nostril, allowing the other nostril to clear.

Warm Salt Water Can Be Used To Treat A Stuffy Nose:

Saltwater rinsing is effective for alleviating nasal congestion and eliminating virus particles and bacteria from the nasal passages. Below is a widely-used method:

Combine 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water. Employ a bulb syringe or nasal irrigation kit to gently spray the water into your nostrils.

Close one nostril by gently pressing it with your finger and spray the saltwater mixture into the other nostril. Allow the solution to drain. Repeat this process two to three times and then repeat on the other nostril.

Stay Cozy And Restful:

When you initially experience symptoms of a cold or the flu, it is beneficial to keep yourself warm and take some time to rest. This allows your body to focus its energy on fighting off the illness. The immune system’s struggle against invading pathogens can be quite demanding on the body, which is why providing support through rest can be beneficial.


Gargling can help soothe a sore throat and provide temporary relief. You can gargle by mixing half a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, repeating this process four times a day.

You can try gargling with an astringent substance, such as tea with tannin, to help tighten the membranes and soothe the irritation in your throat. Alternatively, you can use a thick and sticky gargle made with honey or a mixture of honey and apple cider vinegar.

Add a spoonful of honey to two cups of boiling water and one tablespoon of raspberry leaves or lemon juice to the mixture. When ready to gargle, let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Drink Hot Fluids:

Rephrased: Warm fluids provide relief for nasal congestion, help to avoid dehydration, and offer comfort to the irritated membranes in your nose and throat. If you’re experiencing severe congestion that hinders sleep, consider using a traditional remedy known as a hot toddy.

Prepare a mug of warm herbal tea, then include a teaspoon of honey and a small amount (around 1 ounce) of whiskey or bourbon. Remember to limit yourself to one serving, as excessive alcohol consumption can exacerbate the inflammation of membranes and worsen your condition.

Have A Hot Shower:

Taking steamy showers can hydrate your nasal passages and potentially promote relaxation. Consider taking a sponge bath while sitting on a chair nearby if you are feeling lightheaded as a result of the flu. Apply Salve To Your Nose:

Applying a small amount of mentholated ointment beneath your nostrils can assist in clearing the airways and soothing the irritated skin around the nasal area. Menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor contain gentle numbing elements that can potentially alleviate discomfort caused by a raw, rubbed nose.

It’s important to note that this ointment should only be used externally, underneath the nose, and should not be applied inside the nostrils.

Wrap Your Congested Sinuses In Hot Or Cold Packs:

Both hot and cold temperatures are suitable options. You have the choice to purchase reusable hot or cold packs from a pharmacy or create your own. To apply heat, you can dampen a washcloth and heat it in a microwave for 55 seconds (remember to check the temperature before using it to avoid excessive heat). Alternatively, a small bag of frozen peas can effectively serve as a cold pack.

Lie Down With An Additional Pillow Under Your Head:

Raising the position of your head can alleviate blocked nasal passages. If the angle feels uncomfortable, you can experiment by placing pillows underneath the mattress and box springs to create a gentle incline.

Fly Only When Absolutely Necessary:

Adding stress to an already burdened upper respiratory system is pointless, and that’s precisely what will happen due to the alteration in air pressure. When you have a cold or flu congestion and fly, the pressure changes during takeoff and landing can cause temporary harm to your eardrums.

If flying is unavoidable, it is advisable to take a decongestant and keep a nasal spray handy to use right before takeoff and landing. Additionally, chewing gum and swallowing frequently can provide relief from the pressure.

Eat Foods That Fight Infections:

Here are some recommended foods to consume when you are combating a cold or flu:

  • Bananas and rice can provide relief for an unsettled stomach and reduce diarrhoea.
  • Foods rich in vitamin C, such as bell peppers, are beneficial.
  • Blueberries can alleviate diarrhoea and have high levels of natural aspirin, which may reduce fevers and alleviate body aches.
  • Carrots contain beta-carotene, which is advantageous.
  • Chilli peppers can help open sinuses and aid in mucus breakdown in the lungs.
  • Cranberries can potentially prevent bacteria from adhering to the cells lining the bladder and urinary tract.
  • Mustard or horseradish can assist in the breakdown of mucus in the respiratory passages.
  • Onions contain phytochemicals believed to aid the body in clearing bronchitis and other infections.
  • Black and green tea contains catechin, a phytochemical that is said to have natural antibiotic and anti-diarrhoea properties.


Keep in mind that common illnesses like sinus infections, bronchitis, meningitis, strep throat, and asthma can resemble the symptoms of a regular cold. If your symptoms are severe or if you’re not experiencing any improvement, it is advisable to contact your physician.

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