The worst of your flu symptoms are behind you and you look forward to getting back to your normal activities. However, you're still not feeling 100 percent. What should you do?

The flu, or influenza, is a viral infection in your respiratory or digestive system. The flu produces a melting pot of unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Aching muscles
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal congestion
  • Gastrointestinal distress

You can help your recovery process along with a few simple actions:

1. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids, especially warm fluids such as tea and broth. Fluids support all your body functions, including the immune system. Drink herbal teas, such as ginger and Echinacea. Hot tea contains theophylline, a natural brochodialator. Add honey to your tea: It's full of antioxidants and soothes your throat.

If you've had a stomach virus, start with clear foods, including gelatin and broth. As your appetite returns, add bland foods, such as pretzels, crackers, bananas, and noodles. Slowly resume your normal diet as you feel up to it.

2. Listen to grandma

Grandma knew what she was doing when she nurtured sick family members with chicken soup, although she might not have known why. Chicken releases cysteine during cooking, an amino acid that is chemically similar to a common bronchitis drug.

3. Rest up

Although you may be anxious to return to work and other activities, it's essential to get plenty of sleep while you're recovering.

4. Increase your vitamin D intake

Joseph Mercola, MD, believes inadequate levels of vitamin D play a direct role in illness, including the flu. He recommends one dose of 2000 IU (International Units) per kilogram of body weight every day for three days when you're recovering.

5. Eat right

When you're feeling well enough to eat a variety of foods, support your body with an immune-boosting diet that includes a serving of protein at each meal and multiple servings of colorful fruits and veggies. Avoid simple sugars, which drain the immune system. Add garlic, onions, ginger, and spices to your foods. These ingredients have antimicrobial properties.

6. Prevent a repeat

The last thing you want to do is get sick again, so take the same precautions as if you were preventing the flu in the first place: 

  • Avoid people who are sick (as much as this is possible).
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Keep your immune system in good shape by sticking to a healthy diet and staying well hydrated.

Liesa Harte, MD, reviewed this article.



Mayo Clinic. "Influenza." 20 August 2011.

Hyman, Mark MD. "Supporting Your Immune System When You May Need It Most."  Web. 11 November 2010

Mercola, Joseph MD. "Vitamin D is a Key Player in Your Overall Health." Web. November 01, 2008. "Bounce Back From A Cold Or Flu-Fast." Web.