What really does help a cold?

What really does help a cold?

I have been sick for the last week with a cold. Yes, a common cold but i have been absolutely miserable. One thing about the common cold... it's common and there are many cold remedies but very few that are actually any benefit. 


Stay Hydrated. Water, juice, & tea can help loosen congestion and cuts down on symptoms from a sore throat and stuffy nose.

Plenty of Rest. Your body needs extra rest to heal so staying in bed all day is really the best thing for you. 

Cold and Cough Over-the-Counter Medications. These might offer symptom relief but will not prevent a cold or shorten its duration. Read labels carefully as many cold medications contain multiple ingredients and you want to make sure of what you are taking. Experts agree that these should not be given to younger children so check with your doctor.


Chicken Soup. Your mother was right, it actually helps relieve cold symptoms acting as an anti-inflammatory and speeds up the movement of mucus. 

Relieve Pain Using Over-the-Counter Medications. Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and Aspirin are all pain relief options that will help with achiness. Check with your doctor for recommendation and dosage (infants should only be given acetaminophen, aspirin may not be best option for children/teenagers, etc). 

Sore Throat Relief. Ice chips, lozenges or hard candy can help soothe sore or scratchy throat.

Honey. Helps alleviate coughing in children and can help relieve a sore throat (and taste much better than cough medications). 

Propping Yourself Up with Pillows. While sleeping, it may help you breathe better to prop yourself up with pillows.  

Salt Water Gargle. 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in a glass of warm water a few times a day. The salt draws out excess water in your throat's tissues, reducing the inflammation, clears mucus, and flushes out bacteria and viruses. Children under the age of 6 are unlikely able to gargle properly. 

Hot Shower. Warm moisture helps clear nasal passages.

Increase Moisture Into the Air. Humidifier or cool mist vaporizer can help loosen congestion.

Sip Warm Liquids. Tea, clear broth, soup, etc. can ease sniffles, sneezing, coughing, and congestion.

Probiotics. can help prevent colds by boosting the immune system and most foods with probiotics contain other healthy ingredients that is a bonus.

Healthy diet. High protein foods with antioxident-rich vegetables will help fuel your immune system.


Vitamin C. Taking Vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the duration of symptoms but the jury is still out on Vitamin C actually having any benefit when dealing with a cold.

Antibiotics Will Not Help. Antibiotics attack bacteria and will not help against cold viruses. It could do more harm than good as it will attack the good bacteria in your body. 

Echinacea. Some say taking echinacea in the early stages of a cold may show some reduction in the severity of the cold and help with the duration of the cold but research on the benefits of echinacea are inconsistent.

Chili Pepper.
 Some believe chili pepper can clear up congestion and even prevent a cold but experts say it just isn't so.

Zinc. Some say if you take zinc within the first 24 hours of the onset of symptoms it may reduce the length of a cold. It is also said that zinc taken for 5 months to prevent colds can reduce the incidence of colds in children. However, most experts say there's no conclusive proof that zinc helps with colds. 

The common cold remains difficult to treat effectively. The one certain treatment for a cold is time and most colds will get better on their own in a week. However, there are things that can make you feel more comfortable but there are many things people think help that have absolutely no benefit when battling a cold.
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