Use warmth. Placing a warm washcloth over your forehead and/or cheeks can help relieve sinus pressure. So can breathing in warm moist air. Leaning over a sink full of hot water with a towel draped over your head and breathing in deeply is a popular technique many people find beneficial. Always be wary when using heat to avoid burns.
Stay well hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids helps loosen congestion and unclog your nose and sinuses so you can blow or cough out mucus and bacteria. Staying well hydrated also keeps your throat moist, which can help a sore throat feel better.
Gargle with warm, salty water. Most colds include a sore, scratchy throat. Gargling with warm, salty water can soothe the throat, reduce inflammation, and flush out irritants and bacteria.
Sneezing… watery eyes… a little sinus pressure… sniffles… a tickle in the throat… there are quite a few ways your body lets you know that you may be headed for a cold. Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to prevent or cure a cold. If a cold virus has already made it beyond your body’s natural defense mechanism, your immune system, it is difficult – if not impossible – to stop its progress. However, there are remedies that may help ease your symptoms and perhaps even help you feel better sooner.
Your doctor will have recommendations to help fight a cold. But here are a few suggestions that may help.
Use appropriate over-the-counter medications. Drug stores are filled with non-prescription remedies that promise to help treat the symptoms of a cold or the flu, including decongestants, antihistamines, allergy medications, pain relievers, and herbal supplements. It is a good idea to ask your doctor for a specific recommendation. Many people find that decongestants help with cold symptoms. However, the stronger, more effective decongestants contain pseudoephedrine and are kept behind the pharmacy counter so you have to ask for these medications and show personal identification to purchase them. Antihistamines also help some people suffering with colds feel better, but antihistamines are quite drying and cause drowsiness. Always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medication.
Try a little honey in your tea. Honey is a tasty way to help speed up the healing process. There are all kinds of throat lozenges you can pick up at any drugstore or market that utilize the healing nature of honey. Some people find that drinking warm tea with honey throughout the day works as well as (or even better than) sucking on store-bought lozenges. Some people like to sip warm tea with honey before bed, because it helps them cough less and sleep better.
Enjoy some chicken soup. Chicken soup has been the “go to” home remedy for colds across the generations. Turns out, it works. Research has shown that warm chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties. There’s a study that even compared homemade soup to canned versions and found that both worked in helping to relieve cold symptoms.
Run a humidifier. Humidifiers are designed to moisten the air around us. Some use cold mist and others use hot mist. Both seem to work, but some people prefer one over the other. Ask your doctor for a recommendation. Make sure to use only clean water in a humidifier and keep the water fresh by changing it often. Also remember to clean the humidifier regularly.
Get plenty of sleep. Sleep helps the body and its immune system recharge, which can help make the body better able to fight a cold. There’s research that suggests that getting enough sleep may help some people get better faster and even help keep a cold at bay.