Fighting The Flu With Wives’ Tales

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When it comes to battling the flu, some people will fall back on old wives' tales for ways to combat it.

So which ones really work?

Letting the flu run its course just doesn't sound as simple as everything the internet tell you to do.

"The chicken soup really is effective," said Dr. Melanie Mouzoon, managing physician for immunizations at Kelsey Seybold Clinic. " Garlic can be a little bit effective, but other types of advice are really bad."

Some advice isn't just bad, however. It can also be dangerous.

For example, Mouzoon said the advice to sit in a sauna when you have the should be ignored.

"Any illness that gives you a high fever is giving you that high fever to help kill off the virus," she said. "If you add to the fever, you can actually develop heat stroke from that or brain damage from causing your body heat to rise."


Laying in bed is what really helps. From there, some of the wives' tales can come in handy.

"Menthol and eucalyptus that open your sinuses, doesn't do anything absolutely to shorten the course, but it does alleviate some of the symptoms," Mouzoon said.

Alleviating the symptoms is about all you can do, which is why it's important to get an anti-viral within the first 48 hours.

"It will shorten the course of the flu," Mouzoon said. "If you take it too late and you're already swarming with flu viruses, you're not going to have much benefit."

The flu shot might not be a guarantee to avoid all of this, but you can rest assured it is also weakening the virus, making it easier to endure.

"It takes about two weeks to become effective," she said.


Plus, it helps protect weakened immune systems around you, like children under 2 and adults 65 and over.

Segment Sponsored By: Mercy Health System