This time of year it is not uncommon to find your children or yourself dealing with the common cold. The good news is, colds can usually be treated at home and in most cases, symptoms will only last a few days. Do keep in mind that if symptoms last more than 3 – 4 days you should seek care from a healthcare professional.
We will review some effective treatments for the common cold. Colds are caused by viruses and your symptoms will vary according to the type of virus responsible. The very basic care includes getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids.
Typical Symptoms of the Common Cold:
- Sore Throat
- Nasal Problems (sneezing, runny nose, congestion and stuffiness)
- Sore Muscles
- Fever & Chills
Treatments for a Cold
You may not be able to ‘cure’ a cold, but you can treat the symptoms – which means you will feel better.
For muscle aches and fevers you can use acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen. Always follow the dosage and schedule as advised.
Coughs can be lessened with the use of over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines. In fact, there are many multi-symptom cold medicines available that can treat coughs and other symptoms.
Sore throats can be soothed with lozenges and throat sprays.
Considerations: Rather than using multi-symptom cold medicines some people prefer to take more than one medicine. Always read the labels. Some of the medicines can interact with other ones. This is also an issue if you take prescription medications for another health problem. In such cases it is always best to check with your pharmacist or doctor before you add OTC meds.
Home Remedies for Colds
You probably know about some common home remedies for colds. Many of us use chicken soup as a remedy. A mix of honey (1/4 cup) and apple cider vinegar (1/4 cup) creates a home-made cough syrup.
Swelling in your nose can be reduced with a home-made nasal/saline drops. Just add salt (1/4 teaspoon) to water (8 ounces). Add mixture to a nasal spray bottle or use a dropper to add the salt water to your nostrils.
Hot and spicy foods can help clear a stuffy nose. A vaporizer can also be helpful. A humidifier can be used to add moisture to the air, which can make you feel more comfortable.
Vitamin C and Zinc can give your immune system a boost.
The Prevention of Colds
One of the best and easiest ways to prevent the spread of colds and germs is simply washing your hands. Wash thoroughly and often – hand sanitizers can also be used.
When you have a cold you should stay home. Always remember to use a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
Keeping your immunizations up-to-date can also help you avoid colds and other illnesses.
Final Thoughts about Colds
Cold symptoms may not be comfortable, but in most cases they are considered more annoying than painful. In most cases you still feel well enough to function. If symptoms seem severe or if they last for more than a few days, you need to seek professional medical care.
Debbie Allen enjoys sharing tips and ideas that can make your life easier. She writes about everything from new ideas to try when your kids write letters to Santa, recipes, ways to save money and home remedies.