10 DIY Cures for a Common Cold
A viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract, the common cold can cause all sorts of unpleasant symptoms, including sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, water eyes and congestion. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for this frustrating ailment, other than time and rest. That said, you could relieve many of your symptoms with the help of the following tried and tested home remedies.
- Drink lots of fluids. Besides preventing dehydration, fluid intake can keep your throat moist and help break up congestion. Just be sure to limit coffee, sodas and other caffeinated beverages, which actually promote dehydration.
- Inhale steam. This home remedy can relieve your runny nose and ease congestion. Try standing in a hot shower or holding your head above a pot of boiling water. You can also sleep next to a humidifier to promote happier mornings.
- Clear your nasal passages. It’s important to blow your nose often instead of sniffling mucus back into your nasal cavities. That said, don’t be too aggressive, or you could accidentally force germ-carrying phlegm into your ear passages.
- Irrigate your nose. Saline nasal sprays can break up nasal congestion and flush virus particles from your nose. You can purchase these over the counter or make your own at home. If you do choose to make your own, be sure to boil the water first to kill any potential bacteria.
- Conserve energy. Your body needs plenty of energy to fight off an invading infection. Don’t compromise its abilities by pushing yourself too hard. Get plenty of rest and stay warm until you start to feel better.
- Gargle with salt water. Gargling can moisten a scratchy or sore throat and bring some much needed, albeit temporary, relief. You can also try an astringent gargle – using tea which contains tannins – to tighten cell membranes.
- Use a mentholated salve. Runny noses can chafe the skin above your lips. Relieve this by applying a dab of mentholated salve, which can also open up stuffy breathing passages.
- Apply heat to your sinuses. You can relief sinus congestion by applying hot packs to your nose. If you can’t find reusable packs at the local drugstore, try using a warm washcloth.
- Elevate your head. Before you go to sleep, place an extra pillow under your head. This will help relieve nasal congestion and make your mornings much less miserable.
Most people recover from the common cold within about a week. On the other hand, serious viral infections, such as influenza, can lead to complications. If your symptoms worsen over time or become unmanageable, visit your nearest PhysicianOne Urgent Care center. There’s no need for an appointment and we accept most major medical plans.