Winter in Australia can be great – it’s a time to rug up, get warm, and spend more time inside with friends. But, all that close-quarter contact can lead to the spread of colds, or even worse, the flu. With exams just around the corner, it’s probably the worst time to be coming down with any kind of illness. If you’ve been hit with the flu and you’re looking for a way to beat it, here are some surprising ways you can rid yourself of some of the more unsavoury symptoms.

Juices

Homemade juices are great for giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to combat the flu. Juices made with beetroot and carrot can help decrease inflammation in your body, while sipping on some watermelon juice may relieve your muscles of their stiffness and soreness. Orange and grapefruit juice provides you with some much-needed vitamin C, which will help strengthen your immune system. And not only can juices relieve the symptoms of the flu, but they also taste amazing!

Essential Oils

There are a few different oils that can assist in beating the flu. Lavender oil can be used to reduce inflammation and keep your body free of germs, while lemon oil is high in vitamin C and can help unblock your stuffy nose. Eucalyptus oil is also used to clear noses and can help you breathe easier when rubbed on the chest and shoulders. Peppermint oil is useful for headaches and clearing congestion, as well as mental alertness — perfect for a study session. You can find these essential oils at most pharmacies and chemists.

Sleep

If you’ve ever needed an excuse for a nap, studies have shown that sleeping is one of the best things you can do for your body while you have the flu. Resting your body when it’s fighting a virus is extremely important. Don’t just power through; take a beat to rest and relax. Make sure you get plenty of sleep each night and throughout the day — your body will thank you for it.

Healthy Foods

It’s important to eat foods high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, probiotics, and antioxidants when you’re not feeling your best. Fruit and vegetables are high in vitamins and antioxidants, especially lemons, oranges, and garlic. Vegetable soups are particularly good, as they give you a whole bunch of vitamins and minerals at once. Plus, if you season your soup with spices such as ginger, turmeric or cumin, they’ll boost your food’s superpowers. Spices can help build up your immune system, so you’ll be on your way to recovery. Yoghurt is full of probiotics that both help your immune system and reduce cold symptoms.

Tea

Having a cup of tea can be great for easing the symptoms of the flu. Not only does the steam help with congestion, but teas are also packed with herbs that can relieve your sore throat and blocked nose. Green tea and echinacea tea have anti-viral properties and help kill off infections. Elderberry tea and liquorice root tea help reduce inflammation, which can ease your breathing and sore throat.

Steam

Having a hot shower isn’t just good for aching muscles. Steam is shown to relax your throat, which can help get rid of inflammation. It also clears your nose, helping you feel less congested, and relieves inflamed nasal passages.  If you don’t want to steam up your shower, try breathing over a bowl of hot water and placing a towel over your head.  To clear your nose and throat even more, try adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil.

Fresh Air

Going outside might be the last thing you want to do when you have the flu. However, stuffy rooms are no help for your stuffy nose. Getting a dose of fresh, cold air can help you clear your nose and make breathing easier. Plus, the shift in scenery can be a welcome change, which will help you feel like your normal self again.

Salt Water Rinse

Gargling or rinsing salt water may not seem as appetising as other methods, but studies have shown that it can get rid of bacteria and decongest your nose and throat. Gargling salt water can relieve your sore throat and get rid of that horrible cough. Rinsing your nose with salt water can also eliminate germs in your nose and stop your nose running.