We asked you to tweet us your favorite flu cures, and boy, did you toss some weird ones our way. Sleeping in soggy wet socks? Yuck. Peroxide in the ears? No thanks. Triple dosing on cold medicine? Is that even legal?
Here we've broken it down to the five most common flu cures you sent to us in 140 characters or less. Some work. Some don't. But at least none required getting your feet wet.
A Souper Cure
Ah, just like mama used to prescribe. Tweeters say chicken soup, aka Jewish penicillin, is the ultimate comfort cure when you're under the weather.
Science agrees. One 2000 study in the journal Chest found that a steaming bowl of homemade chicken soup enhanced the infection-fighting power of white blood cells, potentially diminishing cold and flu symptoms. Homemade recipes offered the most protection, especially when a healthy dose of antioxidant-fighting veggies were stirred in, but even soup from a can did the trick.
And, as Dr. Suzanne Koven, author of the aptly named "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Hello to a Better Body." said, "Unlike many other supplements and flu remedies, you can't overdose on chicken soup!"
Vitamin C Is a #Fail
Although a lot of tweeters pop vitamin C all winter, Koven advised against it.
"Vitamin C has been studied for decades, and the results on its effectiveness in preventing or treating the colds and flu are mixed at best," she said. "However, for good health, you do need about 75 to 100 mg of vitamin C daily, preferably from foods such as citrus fruit rather than supplements."
Koven said an extra 200 mg of the sunshine vitamin taken every day, year round has been found to cut the duration of the cold or flu very slightly; endurance athletes and those who live in colder climates may get some flu- fighting benefit from up to 1,000 extra mg of C per day. Any additional dosage is probably just a waste and super mega-doses over 2,000 mg can upset the stomach.
Better in a Minuet
Lots of tweeps just give up and crawl under the covers with their iPod when they have the flu. Actually, music can be an instrumental flu fighter.
"Certain music, such as classical, opera and jazz, has been shown to help reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health, boost immunity, support metabolism, influence hormones and much more," said Dr. Isaac Eliaz, the medical director of the Amitabha Medical Clinic in Santa Rosa, Calif.
No need to be a music snob though. Scientists at McGill University in Montreal found that any music that "sends shivers down your spine" can stimulate the "feel good" chemicals in your brain to help reduce stress and raise immunity.
A surprising number of tweeters told us they avoid cigarette smokers like the plague, specifically to reduce the risk of illness. They do have a point: Secondhand smoke doesn't do anyone's health any favors and may up your chances of getting the flu.
To start with, many of the 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke can damage your lungs in all sorts of nasty ways. Secondhand smoke also weakens the immune system and increases the chances of developing respiratory infections by encouraging the growth of bacteria in the upper respiratory tract, according to one recent Columbia University study.
It's best to steer clear of secondhand smoke altogether whenever possible; studies done by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers have found that ventilation does not necessarily reduce the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure.
Another thing our tweeters have an aversion to is milk. They avoid it for fear it will gunk up the works.
Studies find that dairy does not increase the flow of phlegm. Eliaz said foods such as yogurt and fermented milk, which contain probiotic bacteria, can turbo-charge the immune system's response to the flu virus, possibly decreasing the frequency and intensity of illness.
A 2011 Cochrane review of 10 studies found probiotics to be a superior cold and flu fighter compared to a placebo or no treatment in both adults and children. They found that taking probiotics could help reduce the number of upper respiratory tract infections by 12 percent.