Common Cold Treatment

Bed rest, drinking lots of fluids, and taking medications are the usual remedies for the common cold. Nothing will actually shorten or prevent colds, but some things can provide relief from symptoms. Check with your doctor before giving medications to children to treat the common cold; some medicines, like aspirin, have been linked to the development of more serious conditions.

Treating the Common Cold: An Introduction

It seems like every day a new common cold treatment is being marketed to prevent, cure, or shorten the length of the illness (see Common Cold Myths). Despite these marketing claims, there is only one cure for the common cold -- time. Therefore, treatment goals are focused on providing relief from cold symptoms as the body fights the virus.
Common options to treat the common cold include:
  • Resting in bed
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Gargling with warm salt water (or using throat sprays or lozenges)
  • Using a cool-mist humidifier
  • Taking medications.

Common Cold Treatment: Fluids and Rest

When treating the common cold, fluids such as water, juice, soup, and non-caffeinated beverages can help loosen mucus, keep you hydrated, and make you feel better, especially if you have a fever.
Alcohol and drinks containing caffeine may have a dehydrating effect, so avoid them when you are experiencing cold symptoms.

Gargle and Humidify to Treat a Cold

Gargling with salt water can help relieve a sore throat. A cool-mist humidifier, which breaks water into droplets and releases them into the air, may help relieve stuffy noses. Keep the humidifier clean to avoid a buildup of mold, which could be harmful if inhaled. For a raw nose, use petroleum jelly.
5 Tips to Keep a Cold at Bay

Treatment for the Common Cold

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