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How to Get Rid of a Flu & Cold

By Rica Lewis ; Updated August 14, 2017

The miserable symptoms of cold and flu may leave you fatigued, frustrated and looking for fast ways to get well. Getting rid of the infection requires supporting and strengthening the immune system. Most individuals can expect the illness to last up to 10 days, according to Speeding your recovery time depends on how well you take care of yourself.

  1. Contact your doctor if you have the flu and want to use antiviral medications, which can help shorten the duration of the illness. These medications are mainly reserved for people with risk factors for complications, including those who have an underlying medical condition, are pregnant, are either under age 5 or older than age 65.

  2. Take a few days off from work, enlist family or friends to help with the kids, and postpone any appointments. Proper rest is essential to helping your body fight cold and flu infections.

  3. Drink plenty of fluids. Water and clear soups are often most tolerable, and according to, they help loosen mucus and prevent dehydration. Urine color is a good indicator of proper fluid intake. Clear or pale urine suggests you are getting enough. If urine is dark, drink more.

  4. Sip chicken soup. It is not only a comfort food; it actually helps break up congestion, according to

  5. Avoid smoking or secondhand smoke, which can slow the recovery process and make symptoms worse.

  6. Sift through your medicine chest, or head to the pharmacy if symptoms prevent you from sleeping. Look for cold relief medications, such as throat sprays and lozenges, to help ease a sore throat. Analgesics, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, help relieve aches and pains, but may not be appropriate for children.

  7. Warnings

    If symptoms exceed 10 days, worsen or are accompanied by a persistent high fever, confusion, difficulty breathing or severe vomiting, consult a doctor immediately.

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