Common Cold Treatment
- What It Is
- Risk Factors
- Living With
- User Questions
- Alternative Treatment
- Care Guide
- Questions for Your Doctor
- When to Contact a Doctor
- Find a Doctor
- Resource Guide
How to Treat Common Cold
A cold usually lasts more than 10 days. There are no cures for a cold. But there are treatments that can relieve your symptoms, including:
You can take these for aches and pains, as well as fever:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Ibuprofen (Motrin)
Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. This is because of the risk of Reye's Syndrome. Ask your doctor which other medicines are safe for your child.
Pills or nasal sprays can shrink nasal passages and decrease mucus production. Nasal sprays should only be used for 2-3 days. If you use them longer, you may have increased congestion when you stop using the product.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold products should not be used for infants or children less than two years old. Rare but serious side effects have been reported, including:
- Rapid heart rates
- Decreased levels of consciousness
- Antitussives (cough suppressants)
Drinks lots of fluids. Warm beverages, like tea, and chicken soup are soothing and help reduce congestion.
A cool-mist humidifier can keep your nasal passages moist and reduce congestion. Be sure to clean the humidifier every day.
Saline Nasal Sprays
Saline nasal sprays may provide relief from congestion.
Nasal wash may reduce symptoms, medication use, and school absence.
Researchers are still studying whether alternative remedies, such as vitamin C , zinc lozenges, and echinacea , are helpful in preventing colds, reducing symptoms, and lessening the duration of colds.
Another natural remedy is honey , which appears to improve nighttime cough and sleep disruption in children. Do not give honey to infants younger than 12 months because of the risk of infant botulism.
The roots of a South African geranium plant, called Pelargonium sidoides, may improve cold symptoms and speed recovery. This herb is the main ingredient in Umcka ColdCare and Zucol products.
For most herbs, doctors do not yet know if they work. Also, some herbal treatments may not be pure. Talk to your doctor if you are thinking of using herbs or plants to treat a cold.
Salt Water Gargle
Gargling with warm salt water can help relieve a sore throat.
Over-the-Counter Cough Drops
Using throat lozenges as needed every couple of hours can help relieve sore throat and cough.