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5 home remedies for the Flu

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Modern medicine has yet to offer a cure for the age-old flu, an ailment which affects 5 to 20 percent of the American population. While some medications can prevent and shorten the flu's duration, some medications only offer temporary relief of symptoms. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season.

But it is not all about vaccines and medications, you can help keep the flu at bay with these 5 at-home remedies.

Hot Toddy

The hot toddy is an age-old nighttime cold remedy. Add a teaspoon of honey, a shot of bourbon, and a squeeze of lemon juice. The Hot Toddy may ease congestion, soothe the throat and help you sleep.

Zinc

There is some evidence the mineral may prevent the formation of certain proteins that cold viruses use to reproduce themselves. While zinc does not appear to help prevent the illness, some research suggests it may help abbreviate symptom duration.

Vitamin C

The cold-fighting prowess of vitamin C remains uncertain. Some studies suggest it can help reduce the duration of symptoms by about a day. In one study, participants who were exposed to extreme physical stress and cold weather and who took vitamin C were 50% less likely to get a cold. To help stem ilness, 2,000 milligrams seems to work best, but this high dose may cause diarrhea and stomach upset.

Chicken Soup

Good for so much better than just the soul; chicken soup may help symptoms in more than one way. Inhaling the steam can ease nasal congestion. Sipping spoonfuls of fluid can help avoid dehydration, and the soup itself may soothe inflammation.

Garlic

Garlic has long been touted for renowned germ-fighting abilities. One study showed garlic supplements may help avoid colds when taken daily. Garlic is very nutritious. In addition, it can help spice up your meals when a stuffy nose makes everything taste bland.

Again, the best defense against the seasonal flu is a vaccination.

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