illustration flu symptoms concept
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
January 12, 2024 ·  7 min read

15 Useful and Practical Tips on How to Relieve Flu Symptoms at Home

The flu, also known as influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can lead to mild to severe symptoms that can make you feel miserable and disrupt your daily routine. While medical treatment is often required, there are several practical tips and home remedies that can help relieve the symptoms and make you feel more comfortable while recovering. However, it is important to note that these tips are not a substitute for medical advice, and if you have underlying health conditions, severe symptoms, or if symptoms persist or worsen, consult your healthcare provider.

What Is The Flu?

The flu is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system. It is caused by the influenza virus, which can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The flu can also be spread by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. Flu symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they usually appear within one to four days of exposure. The most common symptoms include:

  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Chills

The flu can be serious, especially for people who are at high risk of complications. These include: Children younger than 5 years old, adults 65 years old and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or lung disease. (1)

15 At-Home Remedies for Flu Symptoms

Let’s be honest: Getting the flu is the worst. You feel awful, it’s hard to eat or keep anything down, and it always seems to happen right before an important event or during a busy time. While sometimes it is necessary to see your healthcare provider when you have the flu, most of the time the treatment plan is the same: Rest and fluids. There are many things you can do at home to remedy your flu symptoms and feel better, faster. Try these the next time you get sick, and of course, be sure to see your doctor if symptoms are severe or persist for a long period of time.

1. Get Plenty of Rest

One of the most crucial steps in fighting the flu is getting adequate rest. Resting allows your body to focus on fighting the infection and helps you recover more quickly. Aim for at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night and take naps during the day if needed. (2)

2. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of fluids is vital when fighting the flu. Staying hydrated helps thin mucus, soothes a sore throat, and prevents dehydration. Aim to drink at least 8-10 cups of water daily. If you’re able to stomach it, consider adding an electrolyte powder to the water to improve your hydration that much further. Warm liquids like herbal tea and soup can also provide comfort and help relieve congestion.

3. Use a Humidifier

Using a humidifier in your bedroom or throughout your home can help alleviate nasal and chest congestion. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and reduce coughing and discomfort caused by dry air.

4. Gargle with Salt Water

If you have a sore throat, then salt water is your best friend. Gargling with warm salt water can help relieve a sore throat and reduce inflammation. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, gargle for 30 seconds, and then spit it out. Repeat several times a day. (3)

5. Take Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

While we should do our best to avoid relying on over-the-counter medicines, sometimes they are necessary. They can help you to stomach food and liquids better when you’re sick and help you sleep more soundly. This, in turn, will help your body better fight the illness and return to your healthy self faster. Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate flu symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and sore throat. Follow the recommended dosage and guidelines mentioned on the packaging or consult with a pharmacist.

6. Sip on Warm Liquids

Warm liquids can be easy on the stomach and provide essential nutrients and hydration when keeping solid food down is tough. Drinking warm liquids like herbal tea, chicken broth, or warm water with lemon and honey can soothe a sore throat, loosen mucus, and provide relief from congestion.

7. Use Nasal Saline Sprays or Rinse

Again, this is more so if you have cold and flu symptoms, not just the flu. Nasal saline sprays or rinses can help relieve nasal congestion and clear out mucus. Saline solutions are available over the counter and can be used multiple times throughout the day.

Read More: 10 Ways To Support Your Lymphatic System

8. Elevate Your Head

When you are really bogged down with a cold and flu, sleeping completely horizontal can be difficult. When sleeping or resting, try elevating your head with an extra pillow or by using a wedge pillow. This helps to reduce nasal congestion and facilitates easier breathing.

9. Apply Warm Compresses

Body aches from the flu can make it difficult to get proper rest. To soothe muscle and joint pain associated with the flu, apply warm compresses, or take warm baths. The heat can help alleviate aches and pains, relax muscles, and provide temporary relief.

10. Consume Nutritious Foods

Eating a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains is essential for supporting your immune system. Nutritious foods provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help your body fight off the flu and reduce inflammation. Of course, when you’re really sick with a flu virus, eating just about anything can be difficult. Stick with whatever you can stomach at first, and as you get better try adding in fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc.

11. Use Menthol Rubs or Creams

Applying menthol rubs or creams to your chest, back, throat, or temples can provide temporary relief from coughing, congestion, and headaches. These products create a cooling sensation that can ease discomfort.

12. Try Steam Inhalation

Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water or using a humidifier can help alleviate nasal congestion and ease breathing. The steam moisturizes the nasal passages and helps clear mucus.

13. Consume Honey

Honey has natural antibacterial properties and can help soothe a sore throat. Mix a spoonful of honey in warm water or herbal tea for relief. Note that honey should not be given to children under the age of one.

14. Utilize Herbal Remedies

Certain herbal remedies like echinacea, garlic, and elderberry have been found to boost the immune system and alleviate flu symptoms. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before trying any herbal remedies. This is especially important if you are taking other medications.

15. Practice Good Hygiene and Isolation

To prevent the flu from spreading to others and protect yourself, practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, use hand sanitizers, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing, and avoid close contact with others until you have recovered.

Read More: 

Supplements That Can Help Prevent The Flu

  • Vitamin C: This vitamin is an antioxidant and helps boost the immune system. It also helps reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get sick.
  • Vitamin D: This vitamin is important for bone health, but it also plays a role in immune function. Research has shown that people with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to get sick from respiratory infections like the flu.
  • Zinc: This mineral is important for immune function and helps reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get sick.
  • Echinacea: This herb has been used for centuries to treat colds and flu. When taken daily, it may help reduce risk and duration of upper respiratory infections.

When is it Important to See Your Doctor?

While the aforementioned tips can help relieve flu symptoms, there are certain instances when you should seek medical attention:

  1. Severe symptoms such as high fever, chest pain, severe headache, or difficulty breathing.
  2. Symptoms that worsen or do not improve after several days.
  3. Underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease.
  4. Suspected complications, such as pneumonia.

It is crucial to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis, evaluation, and appropriate treatment. While there is no true cure for the flu (your immune system takes care of it), these 15 practical tips can help alleviate flu symptoms and improve your overall comfort while recovering at home. Remember to prioritize rest, hydration, and proper nutrition, and seek medical attention when necessary. Stay healthy, and don’t forget to get your annual flu shot to prevent future occurrences of this illness.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Read More: 3-ingredient elixir that you should make this winter to deal with Sore throat, cough, colds, and other throat conditions


  1. Flu.” Examine
  2. 8 Natural Flu Remedies That May Actually Work.” Everyday Health. Denise Mann and Don Rauf.
  3. Cold and Flu Home Remedies.” Healthline. Joann Jovinally. February 2, 2024
  4. Which Supplements Can Help Against Colds And The Flu?Examine

    Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.