According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult gets two to three colds per year, sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eyes.
Unfortunately, because over 200 different viruses can cause a cold, antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections will not help you feel better.
Until researchers discover a cure for the common cold, here are a few home remedies that can help relieve your symptoms and may reduce the number of sick days you have.
There are no shortcuts or tricks. It revolves around providing your body with what it requires to boost your immune system — rest, hydration, and comfort for your throat, nose, and airways. Here are the most effective methods.
While it’s debatable whether drinking more fluids helps your cold symptoms, one thing is sure: dehydration does not. Your body requires fluid to function correctly and to thin mucus.
Increase your fluid intake if you have symptoms such as dry mouth or lips.
How To Do It?
Drinking enough fluids to keep your urine pale yellow can keep you from becoming dehydrated.
Ice chips or popsicles can also be used to soothe a sore throat.
Here are some other ways to increase your fluid intake and soothe cold-affected areas.
Drink Warm Liquids Like Chicken Soup
It turns out that chicken soup can be beneficial when you have a cold.
According to a study published in the Pan Asian Journal of Medical Education, chicken soup contains anti-inflammatory properties that may aid in improving airflow resistance in the nasal passages, making it easier to breathe when you have a cold.
How To Do It?
When you have a cold, chicken soups that are low in sodium and contain other ingredients such as carrots, celery, and onions can be incredibly soothing. Sipping hot teas or simply drinking warm water can also be relaxing.
Some people like to drink warm water with lemon juice, honey, or even ginger.
Sore, scratchy throats for so long.
Have a Spoonful Of Honey
When you have a cold, a spoonful of honey can help to reduce the occurrence of coughing. Best of all, it is also suitable for children (just avoid in those younger than 12 months).
According to a study published in The Journal of Family Practice, giving children honey before bedtime helped to reduce coughing. According to the article, several different types of honey were tested, and they all helped reduce the incidence of coughing.
Use a Humidifier or Vaporiser
Most drugstores sell humidifiers and vaporisers. They add moisture to the air, which can aid in the loosening of mucus and ease breathing.
How To Do It?
When coughing appears to worsen in the evening before bed, many people will turn on their humidifier.
Use a cool-mist vaporiser if you have small children at home. Humidifiers with heating elements and hot water can burn a child if they tip it over. To reduce the risk of mould and bacterial growth, always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.
Try A Saline Nasal Spray
According to a review published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, saline nasal sprays may help relieve nasal congestion and stuffiness in people suffering from colds.
Saline nasal sprays are available over the counter or can be made at home.
How To Do It?
Here are some simple steps for creating your saline solution:
- In a clean container, bring one cup of tap water to a boil or use one cup of sterile water.
- To the water, add a half-teaspoon of salt and a half-teaspoon of baking soda. Fill a medical syringe or a clean nasal spray bottle halfway with the mixture.
- If you used tap water, let the mixture cool to room temperature after boiling.
- Insert the syringe into your nose, tip it toward the back of your head while tilting your head to the side over a sink or in the shower.
- Depress the plunger on the spray bottle or syringe. You should notice that the water is coming out of your other nostril or your mouth.
- Blow your nose gently.
- After each use, wash your hands and clean the syringe.
At first, the saline solution may cause a slight tingling or burning sensation. Using the solution more than once a day may aid in the removal of thick mucus from the nose.
Try Saltwater Gargles
Saline solutions are beneficial not only for stuffed noses but also for sore throats.
How To Do It?
A saltwater gargle can be made with saline, baking soda, and sterile water mixture described above.
Pour the solution into your mouth and gargle it down your throat while making an “ahhh” sound. After gargling, spit out the water. The warmth should help to relieve your sore throat.
It may be easiest to do this near a sink or shower in case you need to spit the gargle out quickly. The first time you take it, you may feel a tickle in the back of your throat.
Take Zinc Supplement
A review of 18 clinical trials on zinc and the common cold found that taking zinc within 24 hours of cold symptoms could help to shorten the duration of the cold.
People who took zinc or used zinc lozenges at doses of 75 milligrammes or higher had fewer days of sniffling and sneezing than those who did not.
The researchers did not advise using zinc to prevent colds. There is currently insufficient data to support that concept.
Keep in mind that higher zinc doses can cause symptoms such as nausea and a bad taste in your mouth. As a result, you may have to weigh the benefits against the drawbacks.
Take Over-the-counter Pain Relievers
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen can help reduce the body aches and headaches common with colds.
Use only one type of pain reliever at a time.
Try Decongestants For Stuffy Noses
Extra mucus can be dried up with decongestant pills or nasal sprays. This can help to alleviate the symptoms of a stuffy nose or difficult-to-cough mucus. The majority of oral decongestants contain phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine.
When it comes to these medications, make sure to read the labels carefully. Most decongestant nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline, should not be used more than three days in a row.
If you experience side effects such as dizziness or difficulty sleeping, you should stop taking them.
Use Cough Drops or Lozenges
Cough drops can help to keep the throat moist. They may also contain ingredients that help to alleviate cold symptoms.
While children may enjoy the idea of a hard-candy-like substance, it’s best to avoid lozenges until they’re old enough not to choke on them.
Have Enough Rest
While this may appear to be a simple recommendation, it is a good one. Allowing your body to heal by sleeping and resting can make you feel better.
In the long run, a few days of rest can help you get back on your feet faster.
Things That Won’t Help
There are numerous remedies that are rumoured to help you get rid of a cold. However, despite extensive research, the following methods do not significantly reduce the duration of symptoms of a cold.
- Antibiotics: Colds are most commonly caused by rhinoviruses. Because antibiotics do not kill viruses, taking them for a cold will most likely result in the destruction of healthy bacteria in your body. If you are still sick after 10 to 14 days or have a fever of more than 101.5°F, your doctor may suspect a bacterial infection rather than a cold.
- Echinacea: Echinacea is a plant that some people use in teas or herbal supplements to treat common colds. According to a review of studies, echinacea is not more effective than a placebo in treating colds.
- Garlic: There isn’t a lot of research to suggest that garlic, like echinacea, can help reduce the symptoms or duration of a common cold.
- Tobacco smoking: If there was ever a time to avoid smoking, it is when you have a cold. The smoke can irritate your lungs, even more, exacerbating your coughing. Secondhand smoke and other irritants, such as cleaning chemicals or kerosene, should also be avoided.
Wrapping It Up
The common cold is inconvenient, but it is self-limiting. You should feel better in a few days and be able to resume your normal activities.
If you use over-the-counter medications, such as cough drops, read the labels to determine what’s in them and how much you should take in a day.
In the meantime, wash your hands frequently and cover your sneezes and coughs to avoid spreading your cold to others.