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Home Remedies for the Common Cold

It is cold season. Do you have a trusted cold remedy that your grandmother passed on to you? Do you rush to the nearest drug store for an over-the-counter solution? Some of these remedies work better than others. Below we outline what works and what doesn’t when treating the common cold.

Cold Remedies That Work

There is no cure for the common cold. That said, there are things you can do to ease your misery:

  • Increase your fluid intake – Drink plenty of fluids such as water, juice, clear broth, or warm lemon water. This will help to loosen the congestion in your chest and to keep your body hydrated.
  • Use a saltwater gargle – This will ease the sore throat that may come with your cold. You will only need about a quarter or half teaspoon of salt mixed into eight ounces of warm water a couple times a day to ease your symptoms.
  • Try nasal drops and sprays There are a number of nasal sprays and drops available over-the-counter . Be sure you follow the directions carefully to avoid any irritation to your nasal passages. Some people prefer a Neti Pot, which can be used to clear the nasal passages with a saltwater solution.
  • Take antihistamines – These medications can relieve symptoms such as runny nose , cough, sneezing, and watery eyes. It is important to note that these often cause drowsiness and should be taken with caution.
  • Increase humidity – Dry winter air is a haven for the cold virus, as it thrives in this type of environment . Using a humidifier can put moisture back into the air and help to keep your nasal passages and throat hydrated.
  • Get plenty of rest – Grab a soft blanket and curl up on the couch. Take a nap or two. Your body needs plenty of rest to fight off the germs, so don't feel guilty by staying in bed if you need more rest. Save your energy to help your immune system fight the cold.

What Doesn't Work When Treating a Cold

There are plenty of remedies that simply do not work. Here are some of the more common treatments that people try, even though they aren’t recommended:

  • Antibiotics – Antibiotics only work against bacteria, not viruses (including the cold virus). Antibiotics will not help alleviate cold symptoms , but they will increase the very real danger of antibiotic resistance.
  • Over-the-counter cold and cough medications for young children – Non-prescription cold and cough medications may cause serious and even life-threatening side effects in children. Acetaminophen, also sold as Tylenol , found in many cold-relief medications, can cause serious liver damage if not taken as directed.

Often, when it comes to the common cold, a good defense is your best offense. Take precautions before you get sick and keep your house stocked with cold-fighting supplies, just in case.

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