If you’re sick with a cold, the flu, or have flu-like symptoms, these 10 tips can help you feel more comfortable, complement medical care, and help to reduce your recovery time.
(Note: They don’t take the place of advice from your medical provider, though. If your symptoms are moderate to severe, please contact your medical provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.)
1. Listen to your body’s appetite.
A decreased appetite is the body’s natural response when fighting infection. Digestion is impaired because the body is focusing its energy on fighting to get better. Hydration is more important than solid food when you have a fever, so it is okay to switch to a liquid diet of bone broth or soup for a few days. Focus on lighter, liquid meals that will digest more easily. Remember, when sick, eliminate all sugar, grains, dairy, and processed foods, as they cause more mucus and inflammation.
2. Drink purified water and herbal teas.
Getting plenty of non-caffeinated liquids can help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration. Fevers burn through fluids and electrolytes, so be sure to have a lot to drink if you are feverish. Our electrolyte lemonade is a great one to make (or to ask someone to make for you). The lungs benefit greatly from water. If you have a respiratory infection, drinking water is critical to fighting the illness. If you suspect dehydration, seek medical help immediately.
3. Consume bone broth.
Chicken bone broth has been clinically proven to shorten the duration of a cold and boost the immune system. It also has minerals and protein in a form that your body will easily digest.
4. Eat garlic.
When sick with a cold, eating garlic can help reduce the severity of symptoms. To get the beneficial effects of garlic, consume 2–3 garlic cloves a day and ensure that they are crushed or sliced prior to cooking or consuming. To get the most effect from the garlic, crush or slice it and let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then consume. You will also keep all vampires away from your household.
5. Take vitamin D.
For adults, while you are sick, double your daily vitamin D3 dose (up to 10,000 IUs daily) to improve your immune system.
6. Take Elderberry extract.
Research shows this supplement can reduce the severity of flu symptoms and the duration by about four days. Nature’s Way Sambucus (sugar free) is a standardized dose extract—it’s more concentrated and therefore, most effective.
7. Take zinc acetate lozenges.
To help reduce the duration of a cold, take zinc acetate lozenges every 2 hours at the first sign of cold symptoms. Use the zinc lozenges for a short period of time. When taking a lozenge, allow at least 20 minutes for the lozenge to dissolve completely in your mouth.
8. Use steam, humidifiers, and nasal rinses.
Steam from a shower/bath loosens mucus and prevents bacterial growth. After 10–15 minutes of steam exposure, gently blow your nose until all the mucus is expelled. A humidifier helps to alleviate symptoms caused by dry and irritated membranes. Clean the humidifier according to manufacturer instructions and change the water daily. Nasal rinses can help clear thick mucus out of sinus cavities and prevent infection. Our favorite sinus / nasal spray comes from IonBiome. Check it out here.
9. Take probiotics.
A daily probiotic is an excellent preventive and natural therapy. When taking antibiotics—take a probiotic twice daily, both during treatment and for two weeks after. Do not take the probiotic at the same time as the antibiotic because it will be ineffective. Instead, space the dosing out so you are taking it 2-3 hours after you have taken an antibiotic dose.
Don’t feel guilty about a few days in bed. Adequate rest helps the body heal and recover faster.
Eighty does not diagnose or treat medical conditions. This information is NOT intended to replace any care from your medical provider. Again, please seek medical care if you suspect you are dehydrated, have a lingering fever or unusual symptoms, or have a moderate or severe illness that impacts your ability to function normally.