Treating a Cold

Health, Home & Family
on December 15, 2011

You can't cure a cold, but you can relieve cold symptoms. So if you're sick of being sick and are eager to feel better, try these suggestions from the Mayo Clinic for treating a cold.

  • Rest. Cold sufferers don't need to be persuaded too hard to get more rest. Get plenty of rest – it helps you feel better and strengthens your immune system.
  • Fluids. Drinking fluids helps your body function more efficiently. An efficient body wastes less energy, so the immune system can use that energy to fend off the cold virus. Water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water with honey are preferred fluids for breaking up congestion and hydrating the body. Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol.
  • Salt water. Gargling with warm salt water can help relieve sore throat pain. Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water.
  • Nasal drops and sprays. Over-the-counter nasal drops and sprays help combat stuffiness and congestion. Drops and sprays are preferred to nasal decongestants, which can make symptoms worse when you stop using them.
  • Zinc. Doctors have been hesitant to recommend over-the-counter remedies containing zinc. That hasn't stopped cold sufferers from taking them, however. Although researchers haven't concluded exactly what combination of ingredients are most effective, zinc does seem to alleviate some cold symptoms.
  • Chicken noodle soup. Moms have been using chicken soup for years to treat the common cold. Whether it thins mucus and reduces inflammation, as some suggest, or if it's just plain comforting is unclear.
  • Cold medications. Over-the-counter cold remedies offer temporary relief from symptoms. But keep in mind, most do have side effects, the most common being drowsiness. Be sure to read all labels and warnings before ingesting any medication.
  • Antihistamines. The jury's still out on the use of antihistamines as an effective way to reduce cold symptoms. The research is conflicting, and often the side effects outweigh the benefits.
  • Humidity. The cold virus thrives in dry climates. Take away the dry climate and you may limit the virus's ability to adapt and spread.

You can also pick up over the counter Multisymptom products like the new Mucinex®  Fast-Max ™ liquids to relieve your worst cold symptoms

*per 4-hour dose
Use as directed