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 Medical Self-Care: Flu 
American Institute for Preventive Medicine ©

To Treat a Cold or the Flu

  • Rest.
  • Drink lots of liquids.
  • Take an over-the-counter medicine for pain and/or fever as directed.
  • Use over-the-counter saline nasal drops or spray, such as Ocean brand. Use as directed on the label.
  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer. This adds moisture to the air.
  • Eat chicken soup. It helps clear out mucus.
  • Take echinacea, zinc lozenges, and/or vitamin C as advised by your doctor when cold or flu symptoms start. Don't take echinacea and/or zinc lozenges long term. These do not prevent colds and flu.
  • Suck on lozenges and hard candies to moisten a sore throat. (Don't give these to children under age 5).
  • Gargle with: Warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water) or 1 tablespoon of hot water mixed with 1 tablespoon of mouthwash.
  • Don't suppress a cough that brings up mucus. Ask your pharmacist for an over-the-counter expectorant medicine with guifenesin. {Note: See information on "Expectorant" in Your Home Pharmacy.}
  • For a sore throat, see Self-Care / Prevention under Sore Throat topic.
  • Take at least 20 seconds to wash your hands using soap and running water.

    This is the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.

    (Excerpted from Healthy Self: The Guide to Self-Care and Wise Consumerism)
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