How to Treat a Cold
Unfortunately, there is no cure for the common cold, however most colds will go away in 3-7 days. Sometimes though, it may not. Treatment of a cold is therefore is limited to symptomatic support which can be effective in limiting complications and the duration a cold. The following steps are generally accepted means to make having a cold less uncomfortable.
- Try taking a day off, from school or work. You wouldn’t want to feel uncomfortable at school, with a blocked nose, runny nose, and the urge to sneeze every 10 minutes. This also helps limit your spread of the illness to others.
- Stop the spreading of germs. Don’t allow others to eat or drink from anything you have come in contact with, and change your pillow cases every day or two while you’re feeling ill. This will limit your chances of spreading the illness, as well as help remove the germs from your environment.
- Drink lots of water or juice. Staying hydrated will reduce the effects of many symptoms such as headaches and sore throat. You may go to the bathroom a lot, but it’s no different than your body trying to get rid of stuff by making you cough and sneeze. A good indication that you are drinking enough fluids is that your urine will be almost clear. The deeper yellows imply higher concentrations of waste in your body that are not dissolving and diluting enough – so, raise your fluid intake. Hot soups are another good way to take fluids in.
- Eat chicken soup. There has been some scientific evidence to suggest that chicken soup slows down the movement of certain white blood cells which cause the symptoms of a cold, in addition the hot liquid from the soup can help clear the nasal passages and soothe your throat. In addition, some view the combination of salt, heat and fluid in chicken soup as an aid in fighting infection.
- Wash your hands after you blow your nose. While this will not help you, it will reduce the likelihood of the virus being transmitted to someone else.
- Take cold medicine only if you need to, although not scientifically demonstrated, it is a common belief that symptomatic treatments may prolong the cold.
- Consider taking a vitamin C supplement, drinking orange juice, and eating some fruits. Although the effectiveness of vitamin C is widely disputed, many vitamin C proponents advise the use of high dosages (in excess of 2g) of vitamin C to reduce the duration of a cold (see warning).
- Get plenty of rest and try not to exert yourself — stressful activity can prolong a cold. You may want to add an additional pillow if you find that you cough more when lying down.
- Take a hot bath/shower to clear up nasal passages. If you have long hair, use a blow dryer to minimize losing your body heat afterwards.
- Try not to smoke. Tobacco use can temporally weaken the immune system and increase the severity of many cold symptoms.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. It is commonly believed that alcohol reduces a person’s white blood cell count.
- Avoid human contact as much as possible. During all stages of a cold, the cold virus (usually rhinoviruses, or coronaviruses) can be easily communicated to other people. Staying home from work or school is the “nice” thing to do. If you must work, limit physical contact with people, try not to touch things and wash your hands often.
- Use Zinc Nasal Spray. Since Zinc interrupts cold-virus replication in lab settings, Zinc Nasal Sprays may reduce symptoms, if used early on.
- To soothe a scratchy throat, gargle with warm lightly salted water.
- Boil special leaves (such as mint leaves, eucalyptus, thyme, and clove), let a towel soak up the water, and inhale, or just leave it on your face for a couple of minutes. It may help clear your nasal passages.
- Honey and Lemon cold relief: Boil some water, pour into a mug, add the lemon juice and stir in two teaspoons of honey (or to taste). Curl up in a comfy chair in front of a roaring fire and feel a lot better very soon. The effect should last for a couple of hours and brings almost total relief to sore throats and blocked noses.
- Disinfect surfaces to avoid communicating the virus.
- There is no clear proof that echinacea or vitamin C prevent colds. Nor is there proof that colds are caused by cold temperature or overheating. There is no medicine also found to end a cold. The medications only reduce symptoms.
- Avoid “blowing your nose” frequently. This practice can lead to middle ear infections. If you must blow your nose, do so with both nostrils open to help dissipate excess pressure.
- As with any home remedy be sure to consult your doctor before consuming more than the RDA of vitamin C.
- If cold symptoms last more than 7 days consult your doctor immediately as you may have a more serious condition.
- If you develop a fever in excess of 100 fahrenheit, consult your doctor. High fever, and chills is an indication of influenza (the flu), a more serious illness.
- Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing, immunodeficient, elderly, under 12yrs old, or otherwise have a preexisting condition that may put you at risk of developing complications.
- High doses of vitamin C can cause cramps and diarrhea. Dosage should be increased gradually to avoid this.