Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
It's flu season, y'all, and the name of the game is prevention. We all know the biggest step you can take to avoid this awful illness is getting the shot, but if you're looking for even more protection — or if you're just very afraid of needles — there are other ways you can help your body stay relatively germ-free. Start by covering your mouth when you sneeze. If you haven't learned the art of the elbow sneeze/cough, adopt it now. And, try not to touch your face or eyes, since your hands likely have germs on them. On top of all that, there are new remedies you can try should you become infected. Yes, infected.
Time's Health Land created a list of the most commonly used flu remedies and preventative measures and there are some real surprises. For starters, we should weed out those remedies that actually don't do you any good. Though it may break your heart, your mom's chicken noodle soup isn't doing you any favors — at least not medically, as no one can deny the emotional value of a bowl of soup made with love. Similarly, loading up on vitamin C and orange juice won't give you the immunity boost you'd think. And, if you grew up thinking that onions absorb bacteria, that's also false. Onions may be a catalyst for tears and our go-to flavor enhancer, but flu fighter they are not.
The good news is there are things you really love that actually double as flu remedies. For instance, a hot shower can clear up congested sinuses. And, we're firm believers that a steam sesh can make you feel a million times better on any given day — never mind when you're under the weather. You'll also be happy to hear that chocolate may help suppress coughs. As Health Land notes, there isn't a heap of science to back this claim. But, when the remedy is so delicious, we're not exactly in the market for proof.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, you should also avoid alcohol (including hot toddies). And, though much touted as an excellent immunity herb, there isn't much evidence that echinacea has a great impact on fighting sickness.
So, what did we really learn from all of this? Just don't touch anything until summer. (Time)