Home remedies for flu, H3N2 virus, flu symptoms and when to see a doctor for influenza

CINCINNATI - Are you suffering from the flu?

The worst flu season in nearly a decade is hitting parts of the country, reaching epidemic levels. Here are some easy home remedies that can help ease symptoms of the virus, according to information from Flu.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Congestion
Decongestants can ease discomfort from stuffy noses, sinuses, ears and chests, but be sure to talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about which kind is right for you.

Stay hydrated. It's recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Other liquids are OK, but avoid coffee, tea with caffeine and alcoholic beverages that may cause dehydration.

Scratchy throat
Cough medicine and cough drops can temporarily relieve coughing and sore throat.

Eat hot chicken soup. The ingredients, such as pepper, garlic, and hot curry powder, help clear congestion in your mouth, throat and lungs. It's also recommended to add spice to your meals.

Fever and aching body
Fevers and aches can be treated with a pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, for example), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin), or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS, Aleve). If you have kidney disease or stomach problems, check with your health care provider before taking any.

Also, stay in bed and rest. Getting plenty of rest is important to get your immune system back to normal and gives your body time to heal.

Experts say these tips won't necessarily cure the flu, they just help to minimize the symptoms and make you more comfortable.

The best form of defense against the flu is the flu shot. It's covered by most insurance companies.

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