How To Feel Better When You Have The Flu


How To Feel Better When You Have The Flu

Got the flu and don’t know what to do? Unfortunately there are lots of viruses and nasty bugs spreading around at the moment. No matter how healthy and fit you are, at some point you might get sick and need a few days off. If that happens, it’s best to get some rest and implement some of the protocols detailed below. Following these helpful tips will ensure you return back to normal as fast as possible.

woman with flu resting stock image

What Is The Flu?

The flu is an umbrella term which refers to any contagious respiratory virus that affects your nose, throat and lungs for up to 10 days. Flus tend to be worse than common colds and present similarly to COVID. Symptoms include coughing, a runny nose, fever, muscle aches and sometimes an upset stomach. In New Zealand, the rates of influenza infection increase during the cold winter months. This means that right now is prime time to catch a flu or two. The best prevention methods include washing hands often, getting a free flu jab, exercising regularly and eating nutrient dense foods. But if it is too late and you find yourself sick as a dog, here are some helpful tips to make you feel better.

man with flu resting stock image

Stay At Home

Step one is to stay home and relax. There is no point over exerting yourself as this will just prolong your recovery time. Call in sick, get into bed and put on a podcast. The most productive thing you can do is give your body time to kick the illness. By resting during the day, you are ensuring your body can allocate all of its resources to fighting the virus. You also don’t want to risk giving your germs to others while you’re sick. People with the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness starts. Keep yourself and others safe by becoming a homebody for a few days until you are back to feeling your best.

man with flu staying home resting stock image

Damp Cloth

This little hack can temporarily make you feel better if nauseous or sniffly. Take a washcloth and wet it with water. Place it on your forehead or around the back of your neck. Not only can this improve symptoms of nausea and headache but it can also provide relief from fever. Although this method won’t necessarily speed up your recovery time, it will make you feel noticeably better and is an easy task you can do while in bed.

woman with damp cloth on head stock image

Shower Regularly

Showers and baths are not only relaxing but can also effectively help you fight the flu. Feeling congested is very frustrating and unpleasant. Humidity from a hot shower forces you to breathe in steam. This in turn massages your nasal passages and will help you feel less stuffy. Research shows that a lack of humidity can increase the transmission of airborne respiratory viruses.  Dry air is apparently influenza’s best friend. It is good practice to ensure the air inside your home is not too dry, especially in the winter months. A hot steamy shower will give you a good dose of humidity as well as alleviating stuffy symptoms. On top of this, a hot shower or bath can assist with warming you up if you have the chills. The warm water is great for relaxing your muscles, headache relief and washing away germs. Practising good hygiene is especially important when you’ve been hit with a virus. It will mitigate the likelihood of you passing your illness to family members and flatmates. Although you might not be feeling motivated to get out of bed, push yourself to have a warm shower and you’ll be better for it.

shower head and hot water stock image


Everyone knows hydration is important in general but it matters even more when sick. If you have a fever, you will need to replace the fluids lost through sweat. Water is usually the best option but are there any special drinks that can help relieve symptoms? Some other beverages you could try are bone broth, decaffeinated tea or warm water with honey. Honey can be more effective at improving symptoms than antibiotics and broth is another great option because it’s warm, nutritious and tasty. NZProtein broth soup is a brilliant idea if you want to keep your collagen intake up when not feeling the best. Research also suggests that the temperature of your beverage makes a difference. This study found that hot drinks are better than room temperature when it comes to sore throat and cough relief. If the flu has got you, then be sure to boil that kettle and sip on cups of the warm stuff. Do your best to avoid caffeinated beverages and opt for nutrient dense soups if you don’t have much of an appetite.

nzprotein collagen broth soup container

Sleep It Off

Finally, the most powerful tool we have when it comes to fighting off a virus is sleep. Being asleep means we spend less time consciously suffering from symptoms. Research also tells us that there is a strong relationship between sleep deprivation and a low immune system. Those who get insufficient sleep are far more likely to catch illnesses than those who get the recommended seven hour minimum. This is because your body contains T cells which help fight infections. Good quality sleep helps your T cells destroy infections and bolsters your immune system. Although you might be tempted to stay up and binge watch an entire Netflix series when ill, the best thing you can do is get some shut eye. This will make your recovery period fly by quicker and ensure your body is in the best position to fight off the virus.

woman sleeping in bed stock image


We can’t choose whether we get the flu but we can make choices that enhance our recovery. Don’t push yourself to be productive if you’re really sick. It will only prolong your recovery period. Instead you should take a few rest days, turn up the shower temperature and sip on some warm nutritious beverages. Follow these basic tips and you’ll be back on your feet in no time.