Viral fever is a common illness that can affect anyone. It is usually caused by viruses like influenza, adenovirus, or rhinovirus. The symptoms include fever, body ache, headache, sore throat, cough, runny nose, fatigue, and sometimes rashes. While viral fevers usually resolve on their own within a week, the symptoms can make you feel miserable.
Fortunately, there are several simple and effective home remedies that can help provide relief from viral fever symptoms and support recovery. In this article, we will discuss some of the best home remedies for viral fever.
One of the most important things to do when you have a viral fever is to stay well hydrated. Fevers cause the body to lose more fluids through sweating. Replenishing fluids is crucial to avoid dehydration and associated complications.
Drink plenty of water, as well as fluids like fresh juices, coconut water, soups, herbal teas, and oral rehydration solutions. Warm fluids can be soothing for sore throats. Adequate hydration will also help thin out mucus secretions.
Get Adequate Rest
Rest is key when fighting off any infection. When you have a viral fever, listen to your body and get as much rest as you need. The virus can make you feel fatigued and worn out. Avoid strenuous activity and take time off work or school until the fever subsides.
Sleep allows the body’s immune system to recharge and work efficiently to fight off the virus. Make sure you get enough sleep during a viral fever.
Gargle with Salt Water
Gargling with warm salt water is an easy and effective home remedy to get relief from a sore, scratchy throat. The salt helps reduce inflammation and pain. It also helps flush out irritants, allergens, and mucus from the throat.
Stir half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of lukewarm water till it dissolves. Gargle a few times hourly to reduce throat irritation and discomfort. This can be done a few times a day until symptoms improve.
Use Steam Inhalation
Inhaling steam is an excellent way to get relief from congestion due to a viral fever. The warm moist air from steam loosens up mucus and provides moisture to your airways and nasal passages. This can make breathing easier, reduce coughing, and provide relief from a stuffy nose.
Boil a pot of water, remove it from heat and transfer it to a large bowl. Lean over the bowl with a towel draped over your head to trap the steam. Inhale the steam deeply for 10 minutes 2-3 times a day. You can also add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water for added decongestant benefits.
Soothe a Sore Throat with Warm Beverages
Sipping on warm beverages can help soothe an irritated throat and provide comfort when you have a viral fever. Drinks like warm water with honey, apple cider, lemon water, herbal teas, and broth-based soups can help reduce throat pain and ease swallowing difficulties.
Honey has natural antimicrobial effects while lemon helps loosen mucus. Herbal teas like chamomile, licorice, mint, and ginger tea also have anti-inflammatory benefits. Avoid very hot drinks as they can further irritate the throat.
Try Over-the-Counter Medications
Several over-the-counter (OTC) medications can provide symptom relief from viral fevers. Acetaminophen/paracetamol can help reduce fever and body aches. Decongestants may ease nasal congestion while cough suppressants can control coughing.
Always check with your doctor before taking any medication to avoid side effects and interactions. Carefully read labels and follow dosing directions. Avoid giving aspirin to children owing to its link with Reye’s syndrome. OTC meds only help manage symptoms but do not treat the underlying virus.
Use a Cool Mist Humidifier
Running a cool mist humidifier can add moisture back into the air and help you breathe better if you have nasal congestion and a cough. Dry air can further irritate inflamed airways. The moist air loosens secretions to make coughs more productive.
Make sure to clean and disinfect the humidifier as per instructions to prevent growth of mold and bacteria. Place it near your bed when sleeping or where you spend most of your time while recovering from a viral fever at home.
Rinse With Salt Water for Sore Throat
Making a salt water rinse can reduce throat pain and irritation during a viral fever. The antibacterial properties of salt help kill germs while the rinse flushes out irritants to provide temporary numbness and relief.
Stir 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a cup of lukewarm water till it dissolves. Take a mouthful, swish, and gargle before spitting it out. Rinse and repeat as required. Be careful not to accidentally swallow the solution. Do this several times a day to manage throat discomfort.
Honey has antimicrobial, soothing, and cough-suppressing properties that make it ideal for viral fevers. You can take a spoonful or two of pure raw honey to coat your throat and provide quick relief from soreness. Adding honey to warm drinks, lemon water, or herbal tea can be soothing.
You can also mix 2 teaspoons each of honey and lemon juice in a cup of hot water. Sip this slowly to reduce throat irritation. Avoid giving honey to children under 1 year old due to risk of infant botulism.
Use Pepper Mint
Peppermint has menthol that provides a cooling sensation and decongestant effects. It helps thin out mucus secretions from the nose, throat, and lungs. Inhaling steam infused with peppermint oil can open up clogged airways.
You can also drink peppermint tea a few times a day to reap benefits. To make it, steep 2-3 peppermint tea bags or fresh leaves in hot water for 5-7 minutes before drinking. The anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint will help with viral fever symptoms.
Try Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root contains mucilage which coats and soothes sore throats for relief from coughs. The antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties of marshmallow can bolster the body’s ability to fight viral fever.
Add 1-2 teaspoons of dried marshmallow root to 1-2 cups of boiled water. Let it steep for 30 minutes before straining the tea. Drink a few cups of this soothing marshmallow root tea daily until your throat feels better.
Load Up On Vitamin C
Increasing your intake of vitamin C when you have a viral fever can help boost immunity. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits. Foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, berries, tomatoes, kiwi, peppers, broccoli, spinach can help fight the infection.
Having a glass of citrus juice or vitamin C supplement daily can shorten how long your viral fever lasts and speed up recovery. But avoid very high doses of vitamin C supplements.
Use Oregano Oil
Oil of oregano is a popular traditional remedy to treat viral infections including colds and flu. It contains thymol and carvacrol compounds that have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Add a few drops of oregano oil to lukewarm water or tea and drink it. You can also dilute it with a carrier oil and apply it topically. But always use it carefully and in moderation. Excess use can cause side effects.
Try Immune Boosting Foods
What you eat can impact how quickly you recover from a viral fever. Include foods rich in zinc like seafood, meat, chickpeas, and pumpkin seeds. Chicken soup, broths, and garlic also have antiviral components.
Probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi contain beneficial gut bacteria to boost immunity. Stay hydrated with water, juices, teas, and clear broths. Avoid sugar, fried foods, processed items, and alcohol which can worsen inflammation.
Use Hot And Cold Therapy
Simple hot and cold therapy can help provide relief from fever discomforts. Place a cool, damp cloth on your forehead to lower body temperature and relieve headaches. Soaking your feet in a bucket of warm water can relieve body aches and decrease congestion.
You can also take a warm bath or keep a warm towel or heating pad on aching muscles. Finish with gentle stretches for relief. Avoid extreme hot or cold therapies for too long when running a fever.
Know When to See a Doctor
Most viral fevers can be managed safely at home with rest and simple remedies. However, consult a doctor if your fever climbs over 102 F, lasts more than 3 days, or is accompanied by severe symptoms like:
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent vomiting
- Severe muscle pain
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
- Symptoms in infants or very elderly people
Your doctor can check for complications and determine if prescription antivirals may be beneficial in your case. Call emergency services if you have alarming symptoms like confusion, high fever, chest pain etc.
Viral fevers can make you feel under the weather. With plenty of rest, hydration and some simple home remedies, you can get relief from symptoms and recover faster. Staying hydrated, getting sleep, gargling salt water, sipping warm drinks, using OTC meds, and trying honey, vitamin C and herbs can help you feel better.
Remember to see a doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen. With basic self-care and natural remedies, most viral fevers can resolve at home within a few days. Pay attention to warning signs and take care of yourself when a viral bug strikes to get back on your feet safely and quickly.