Flu Treatment and Herbal Remedies

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Important things to know about the flu:
  • Influenza patients can transmit the virus for 5-7 days after getting the virus.
  • Keeping the person with flu in a separate sick room can help keep others in the family from getting the flu.
  • Take these steps to create a separate sick room:as per the CDC website this is the method of setting up a sick room:
  • Try to give the sick person their own room. If there is more than one sick person, they can share the sick room if needed.
  • If you have more than one bathroom, have sick people use one bathroom and well people use the other one.
  • Give each sick person their own drinking glass, washcloth, and towel.
Have these items in the sick room
  • Tissues
  • Trash can with lid and lined with a plastic trash bag
  • Alcohol-based hand rub
  • Cooler or pitcher with ice and drinks
  • Cup with straw or squeeze bottle to help with drinking
  • Thermometer
  • Humidifier (extra moisture can make it easier for the sick person to breathe.)
  • Facemasks (Sick people should wear a facemask if available, especially when they leave the sick room or are around other people.)
About medicines in the sick room

-Store all medicines out of reach of children. If you have no young children in the home, place medicines for adults in the sick room.

-Write down medicine dose and when doses are needed.

If a major disaster happens:

-Keep the person separated from the rest of your group and add people to that area as they become sick.

-Protect the person from the outside elements, a tent or covered area is necessary if no housing available

-Keep the person warm and dry and Raise the resting place off of the ground.

-Remove bodily wastes and bury them far away from the main group’s gathering area.

-Boil items for 20 minutes that are going in and out of the sick area.

Caring for Someone Sick at Home

Protect well family members from getting the flu. If the sick person must leave the room to go to the bathroom or to a doctor’s visit, ask them to wear a facemask. No facemask at home? Ask the sick person to use a tissue to cover coughs and sneezes.

Follow these sick room rules:

  • Avoid having other people enter the sick room.
  • The sick person should not have visitors other than the caregiver. If visitors must enter, they should stay at least 6 feet away from the sick person.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Ask the sick person to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when they cough and sneeze. Ask them to throw used tissues in the trash.

If you can, choose only one caregiver to take care of sick family members. If possible, ask someone else to be the caregiver if you are pregnant or have certain chronic health problems. If you get the flu, it could be much more serious for you.

A sick room should be well ventilated. Keep the air clean by opening a window, if possible, or use a fan to keep fresh air flowing.

If a disaster happens and you are on the road:

Open the tent windows often to allow fresh air to circulate, if it is cold outside open up the windows for short times. If it is cold outside you can heat heavy rocks on a fire and place them inside of a dutch oven. Then, place the whole thing inside the tent to keep it warm. For increased humidity you can pour water over the hot rocks.

How to Clean the Sick Room

Cleaning hard surfaces, at least daily. These may include doorknobs, bedside tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, phones, and toys. Use water and dish soap. Or use common household cleaners that kill germs, such as a 10% bleach solution.

Wash bed sheets and towels with normal laundry soap and tumble dry on a hot dryer setting. Hold all dirty laundry away from your face and body. Wash your hands right after touching dirty laundry.

Wash the sick person’s dishes with normal dish soap.

To clean and sterilize the sick area in a disaster  situation, again, boil items for at least 20 minutes, including bedding and clothing.

A good supply of rubbing alcohol and household cleaners to use for killing germs should be part of your storage supplies.

We have already discussed the symptoms of the flu so here are a mixture of CDC recommendations and also herbal remedies in the case of a disaster. happens”.

First is the Fever:

  • Bringing down a fever will make the person feel better and help patients rest.
  • Treating a fever without medicine
  • Put a cool, damp washcloth on their forehead.
  • Wash their arms and body with a cool cloth.
  • Give the person a slightly warm bath.

Treating a high fever with medicine

Look for the ingredients “acetaminophen” or “ibuprofen” on labels. Be aware that these medicines may take 30 to 45 minutes to start working. They may not bring fevers down to normal, but should improve the situation.

In children, fever may cause a convulsion or “seizure.” A seizure makes you have jerky spasms and can also make you pass out. Seizures brought on by fever are more common in young children.  Any child younger than 3 months who has a fever should see a doctor if there’s a functional medical system in place.

Herbal remedies include:

  • Fennel tea, which reduces a fever and soothes a sore throat and upset stomach.
  • Both Catnip and Ginger teas relieve fever and digestive upset and has a relaxing effect to help with sleep
  • Lemon Balm tea and Yarrow tea promote sweating which breaks the fever.

Coughing can help clear out mucous and congestion from your lungs. Yet, dry coughs when there is no mucous can make your airways, throat, or chest sore. Treating a dry cough can stop this sore feeling and also help you get rest.

In normal times, ask the pharmacist about which cough medicines are best to treat a dry cough. Do not give children younger than 4 years of age cough or cold medicines.

Set up a humidifier. That’s a machine that puts tiny drops of water (moisture) into the air. This extra moisture can make it easier for the sick person to breathe.

Offer adults a cough drop or hard candy to soothe their throat and lessen the urge to cough.

Herbal remedies include:

Inhalation of chamomile, eucalyptus or thyme help to loosen up any mucus and heal the respiratory passages.

Treating sore throat

Offer the person:

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the pain
  • Ice chips or frozen ice pops to numb the throat and get fluids into the body
  • Some people find gargling with salt water helps soothe a sore throat.
  • Mix 1 cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Gargle and then spit out.

Other herbal remedies are:

  • Drink teas with lemon and honey.
  • Ginger, Tilden flower and sage teas are wonderful for sore throats. Tilden flower tea is also used for headaches.
  • Sage tea is an antiseptic and antibacterial.

Treating chills, aches, and pain

  • Offer the person:
  • A light blanket for chills
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for aches and pain. Make sure to read the label for the right amount.

Herbal remedies for chills, aches and pain:

  • Chamomile tea calms the body and promotes sleep.
  • Willow bark, peppermint, ginger, rosemary and angelica all have pain relieving properties.
  • A warm bath with 2 cups of epson salts added helps relieve muscle pain.

Treating congestion according to the CDC:

The flu can cause the body to make more mucous. The nose, sinuses, ears, and chest can get stuffy. This congestion can cause pain.

Offer the person:

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the pain
  • Decongestants (Talk to your pharmacist about the kind you should buy. Do not give cough or cold medicine to children younger than 4 years of age.)
  • A humidifier. That’s a machine that puts tiny drops of water (moisture) into the air. This extra moisture can make it easier for the sick person to breathe.
  • A warm washcloth on the face to ease sinus pain

Herbal remedies include:

Peppermint tea and anise tea stimulate mucus flow to relieve congestion.

Cayenne pepper added to OJ or soup also has the same effect.

Tea tree oil or basil leaves can be dropped into the hot stones and water for a aromatic steam that relieves congestion. A few drops of the tea tree oil can also be put on a washcloth and placed underneath the patients pillow overnight.

Licorice root is an expectorant and also an anti-inflammatory.

Treating stomach problems

People with the flu may have stomach pain. They may even throw up or have loose stools (diarrhea).  Offer the person:

  • Plain foods that are easy on the stomach
  • Clear liquids to drink
  • Medicines to help adults treat loose stools
  • Herbal remedies include:
  • Valerian root tea and ginger tea both sooth an upset stomach and promotes sleep.
  • Goldenseal tea boosts the immune system and treats diarrhea.
  • Cinnamon tea will stop vomiting and relieve feelings of nausea.


Give plenty of liquids at the first sign of flu. Sick people with the flu need to drink extra fluids to keep from getting dehydrated. Mild fluid loss can most often be treated at home. Yet, severe dehydration is VERY serious and must be treated in the hospital.

Tips to prevent dehydration

If the sick person is not eating well, encourage them to drink liquids. Avoid alcohol or drinks with caffeine in them such as colas, tea, and coffee.

Older adults and people with kidney problems should check with their doctor about safe amounts of liquid to drink when sick.

Offer clear fluids such as water, broth, or sports drinks.

Use a squeeze bottle or a straw for people too weak to drink from a cup. Or offer ice chips or frozen ice pops to suck on.

Continue to nurse or bottle feed your baby. Babies get all the fluid they need from breastfeeding or formula.If your baby refuses to breastfeed or take formula from the bottle, call the doctor. Your doctor may recommend you give your child a special drink like Pedialyte®, which is meant to prevent dehydration.

Here is a treatment for dehydration. It is a simple electrolyte solution made from everyday kitchen items:

  • 1Liter of fresh, potable water
  • 1/2 tsp salt (NaCl)
  • 1/4 tsp salt SUBSTITUTE (KCl)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 5-6 tablespoons of sugar or any type of honey
  • crushed multivitamins can also be added
  • Pedialyte can be approximated by cutting the additive amounts in half.

For general immunity boosting and antiviral herbs try taking:

  • Echinacea
  • Elderberry
  • Garlic
  • Asian Ginseng
  • Wild Indigo.

Remember when it comes to the flu, PREVENTION is the BEST medicine!!!

Amy Alton, ARNP

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