Hot, budget-friendly tips for fighting the flu

A mom friend’s remedies to help you get well soon

Illustration: Danielle Ragas / The Peak

By: Lubaba Mahmud, Staff Writer


The reign of flu season has begun. Your favourite symptoms — fever, stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, and body aches — are back and ready to attack. Since my friends and I have been taken hostage by some particularly nasty flus before, I’ve learned how to tackle them over the years with tried-and-true techniques. If you’re unfortunate enough to get reacquainted with the autumn sickness, you may be looking for a cure. Taking medicine (hoard night-time flu tablets, cough drops, and nasal sticks) and having plenty of rest and fluids are most important. To add to these, here are a bunch of grandma-approved home remedies that you can try to help quicken the recovery process:


  • Unleash the magic of vapor rub
    Vapor rub is the mentholated potion that fights hard against flu monsters. Massage the ointment a couple of times a day on your chest, neck, and back for soothing relief. However, if you have any conditions that affect your breathing or airways such as asthma, medical advice should be obtained before using vapor rubs. Common brands include Vicks VapoRub and Tiger Balm.
  • Steam yo’ face 

Steam inhalation is a common way of clearing nasal passages. The moisture from steam helps to thin the mucus so that you can temporarily get rid of that annoying stuffy nose. To undertake steam therapy, pour boiling water into a bowl, and drape a towel over the back of your head. Inhale the steam from about 8–12 inches away from the bowl, keeping your eyes closed. Inhale it for 5–10 minutes, and repeat it for a couple times throughout the day. Since I’m a true fan of vapor rub, I add it to the water when it’s still hot but not boiling anymore.


My mom swears by this honey lemon ginger tea, so it’s been a go-to in our house for years. The ingredients, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, make it a great homemade remedy. For an extra punch, try adding turmeric to the tea.


  • Gargle like you’re a gargling goblin, girl
    To alleviate a sore throat, add half a teaspoon of salt to warm water and gargle the water at the back of your throat for a few minutes. Do this frequently to flush out bacteria and reduce chances of oral infection.


  • Who needs a bae when you have a hot bag
    For some comforting warmth, I put a hot bag/pack on my chest. It reduces shivering and helps with body aches. If you’re not getting enough bed rest, these help especially for strained muscles. Secure that bag and place it on yourself for 15–20 minutes.  
  • Eat super soup-er foods
    Soups are the ultimate food for when you’re sick (check out The Peak’s article for some student-friendly soup recipes). Since I always suffer from a lack of appetite when going through the flu, I’ve found that fruits, such as oranges, act as a good snack and help me to regain appetite. Also, spicy foods can help to clear sinuses and be another appetite booster.


If your flu symptoms don’t improve within two weeks, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor as soon as possible. You can make an appointment with SFU Health and Counselling by contacting them at the phone numbers listed below. The SFU Burnaby and Vancouver clinics are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, whereas the SFU Surrey clinics are appointment-dependent. Otherwise, students can use Medimap, which shows users nearby available walk-in health clinics and their wait times.


Burnaby clinic: 778.782.4615

Surrey and Vancouver clinics: 778.782.5200



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