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10 Tips From 1943 for Dealing With the Common Cold

Updated on October 8, 2013
A sketch by Herbert Marsden, as appeared in the The American Home magazine, 1942
A sketch by Herbert Marsden, as appeared in the The American Home magazine, 1942 | Source

Public Nuisance No. 1

Through the years, the common cold has plagued many people since ancient times.

A cold is a contagious viral illness that spreads through airborne droplets, direct contact with nasal secretions, or contact with contaminated objects.

In rummaging through my vintage magazines, I came across winter editions from 1943 to 1963 of assorted home magazines. In reading them, I found common recommendations for dealing with the common cold.

What I read was rather amusing. From seventy years ago until 2013 today, have things really changed all that much?

For starters, in 1943, it was estimated that two hundred million colds happen every year. While in 2013, it's estimated that in the United States alone, there are more than one billion cases of the common cold every year per the Center for Disease Control.

Also, the cause of the common cold was not known until the 1950s.


This is not intended as medical advice, although laughter may persist after the reading of this article.

Items to stock on kitchen shelves for a cold picnic.
Paper cups
Make sure these items are bright and colorful. We want to cheer up the person suffering from a cold.

Tip #1: The Picnic Treatment.

Forget everything you read about packing the wicker basket full of utensils, plates, a red and white gingham tablecloth, and a bottle of wine.

This picnic refers to isolation and bed rest for every person with the common cold.

It was reported in 1943 that millions of dollars had been spent on research. Yet there was no definite or guaranteed method of prevention. But there are a lot of things one can do to make colds shorter and less severe.

Tips for setting up your kitchen for cold picnics:

  1. Stock your shelves with paper goods. As many bright and varied as the dime store can furnish. (Today the Dollar Tree or Walmart.)
  2. Burn all paper utensils and plates after use. Likewise, burn all games and magazines. One can never be too careful. All of these items are germ-laden after being handled by a cold sufferer.
  3. Or better yet, add a newspaper to the cold picnic for use just by the one suffering with the cold. A real treat! No competition for the page of all-important funnies!

Tip #2. Liquids.

Liquids are so important to one suffering with a cold.

Along with best rest, at the first sign of a cold, have plenty of water, fruit juices, light and simple foods on hand, as well as vitamins.

Don't eat too much sugar or starchy foods.

If you think you need a laxative, take one!

By 1963, Reader's Digest figured out that prune juice is certainly a less harsher alternative.

Reader's Digest, March 1963
Reader's Digest, March 1963 | Source

Tip #3. Medicines.

A hot footbath and a hot drink such as lemonade are good for you provided you can get right in bed and cover up!

Take your doctor's advice about medicines. He will probably tell you that certain gargles and steam inhalations will relieve discomfort.

And don't forget one very unpleasant side effect! Every sneeze means thousands of droplets traveling at about two miles a minute, some even stay alive for as long as two days!

So, make sure you sneeze into a disposable tissue. Or, use a handkerchief that can be boiled before being touched by others!


Tip #4. Exercise.

Best of all, build up your general health and resistance. First, start prevention of the common cold in the summer by judicious exposure to sun and cool water baths!

Get rid of diseased tonsils and adenoids.


Tip #5. Diet.

Include in your winter diet plenty of milk, eggs, cod liver oil, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Eat less sugary and starchy foods.

Don't forget to take your vitamins in capsule forms. Without revising many eating and cooking habits, it's hard to get enough vitamins.


Tip #6. Keep warm.

Be sure that your boy or girl is clothed properly.

Make sure your boy or girl stays warm and dry during rowdy snowball fights.

By all means, avoid over-fatigue by getting plenty of rest and sleep, regularly.

Especially if you live in a cold climate, see to it that your home temperature setting is around 70 degrees and has enough humidity. Open windows for a good airing at least once every day.

Ways to prevent spreading germs.
Avoid sneezing.
Avoid laughing.
Avoid talking forcibly.

Tip #7. Think of the other girl first.

That's a camp motto. When you have a cold, take such precautions as cleaning the telephone antiseptically after you've used it. Don't talk forcibly in to the phone to avoid spreading your germs.


Tip #8. Create laws.

  • There ought to be a law! Let's do all we can to help protect American babies before sickness strikes.
  • Motion seconded. Keep all nurseries and all other rooms hygienically clean.
  • Right you are! Add Lysol to all cleaning water.
  • Mothers prepare for emergencies by checking all sick room needs now, not forgetting Lysol.
  • And shop at the neighborhood druggist sick room needs sale.

A healthy baby is a happy baby. Lysol Disinfectant Ad, 1942

Only for a limited time!

You can tenderize meat and crack ice all at the same time!

Tip #9. Drink Lipton Tea.

In fact, Lipton mail orderers received a cleaverette as a special promotion.

The cleaverette is designed to ease many of the tedious tasks in food preparation. It safely does the work of a knife with efficiency.

The cleaverette trims meats like a breeze, without worry of cutting your fingers.

It's marvelous for dicing vegetables, cubing steaks, disjointing fowl, cutting squash, turnips, and even has a crimped end for tenderizing meats.


Tip #10. Aspirin.

In just two seconds, Bayer Aspirin is ready to go to work.

To see how fast it works, just drop Bayer Aspirin tablets in a glass of water. Time its disintegrating speed. What happens in the glass, happens in your stomach!

It's so wonderfully gentle to the system, mothers give it to small children on doctors' advice.

When you are in pain and want fast, dependable relief, don't experiment with drugs that do not stand the test of time.

Also in children's sizes. They are neither flavored or coloured so they cannot be mistaken for candy.

(Important Note: While this Hub is based on information that is not current, and really just for fun, please take this advice seriously. From the Mayo Clinic: Reye's syndrome is a rare but serious condition that causes swelling in the liver and brain. Reye's syndrome most often affects children and teenagers recovering from a viral infection and who may also have a metabolic disorder. Aspirin has been linked with Reye's syndrome. No one under 17 should be given aspirin for flu or cold symptoms.) Thank you to fellow Hubber, Ellebee for bringing that to my attention.


What's different from then to now?

Many of the precautions for treating a common cold sufferer stayed the same as seventy years ago.

1. The picnic treatment. Disposable utensils and paper goods for eating were recommended in 1943. In 2013, to be more environmentally friendly, it is suggested that greenhouse gasses from manufacturing porcelain plates have already been emitted, and to use paper plates would require further emissions. Burning garbage may not be allowed by law in 2013, whereas seventy years ago, it may have been common for folks to burn their garbage in their wood-burning stoves or fireplaces. Also, newspapers aren't as commonly distributed today as they once were. Therefore, most people would likely be reading the newspaper through electronic media. If that's the case, remember to disinfect electronics, especially ones used in a shared public space such as your office.

2. Liquids. In 1943, it was commonly recommended to drink plenty of water and fruit juices. While today it's recommended, if you choose to drink fruit juice, choose 100 percent fruit juice instead of sweetened juice or fruit-juice cocktails. Laxatives were commonly prescribed to give immediate relief of symptoms and help the immune system response to the cold. While today laxatives are commonly disregarded for treatments of colds because they remove water and electrolytes.

3. Medicines. It still is recommended today to take steam baths during colds. And lemon juice is reported to decrease the strength of the cold. Both treatments reduce phlegm.

4. Exercise. Today, we can't stress enough about the health benefits of exercise. Even more frightening, is the suggestion to get rid of tonsils (which was common for all children)! While now, we have antibiotics which prevent the necessity of removing tonsils. But it is still a solution in the case of a child with re-occurring strep throat.

5. Diet. While most of the information about diet is still true such as eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, drink milk in moderation. Milk makes phlegm thicker, which in turn becomes more irritating to your already raw throat. However, frozen dairy products can soothe a sore throat and provide calories when you otherwise may not eat.

6. Keep warm. It was once thought that by being cold, you could give yourself a cold. While we know that isn't true, that the common cold is transferred through 200 different types of viruses, it is commonly recommended to keep your thermostat set to around 68 degrees for comfort.

7. Think of the other girl first. This one still holds true today in the form of hand sanitizer. While telephones have definitely changed from a rotary dial with an ear set attached to a short cord, it is still good ethics to cleanse areas with disinfectants regularly. Especially in office settings or your home environment to keep from spreading the viral germs.

8. Create Laws. While this one was really meant for entertainment per the Lysol ad, the Center for Disease Control recommends practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding close contact with people who have colds or other upper respiratory infections. If you have visited a medical facility recently, you may have noticed the signs about wearing a mask to cover a cough. This is all within recent years, as well as hand sanitizer stations. Also, hand washing practices have become regular job-safety requirements at places such as restaurants.

9. Drink Lipton Tea. Many tea drinkers still enjoy a nice cup of hot tea anytime, especially during a cold. However, the difference is safe food handling practices are now employed. Never chop your ice with a meat clever you used to tenderize your beef. (Or at least not before properly sanitizing it.)

10. Aspirin. While there is no cure for the common cold, the symptoms can be treated. It usually resolves on its own within 10 days for most sufferers. It is strongly advised now that you make sure you're getting the cold medicine you need and not the medicines you don't.

Some things never change!



I finally put my hoard of vintage magazines to good use. Reading up on all those articles from a time long ago really gave me insight in to why my grandparents always told me to never go out with wet hair, or don't go outside barefoot.

One thing has certainly not changed. We have still yet to find a cure.

What myths have you heard about catching colds?

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    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      That is very interesting. Sad that this person feels they have to steal my son's experiences with Autism in order to gain attention for their FB page.

    • Mary McShane profile image

      Mary McShane 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

      As you can see, your name only appears buried in the text and in no way shows you wrote it or provides a link back to your hub. Source: hubpages! Not you! This is a no contest case in your favor.

      Go to Sept 15 and you'll see a former HP writer who I suspect has a lot to do with this page because of being a writer on Gourmandia, Sparkpeople, and many other sites listed as "source."

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Ok, I just clicked on the link and saw it. Wow. It even begins by saying "my son has special needs". That's MY son I am referring to my MY article! That makes me angry. OHEALTH is stealing my content from HubPages and plagiarizing my work!

    • Mary McShane profile image

      Mary McShane 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

      This complete article and photo titled:

      10 Tips From 1943 for Dealing With the Common Cold is posted October 10, 2013.

      Your name has been removed, no back link to you is provided and the source is listed as "hubpages." You do not need a FB account to look at the page to see it.

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hi Mary! Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I saw you in the forums and I was quite surprised about this. I haven't been around much in the last three weeks because of weather issues and the schools being closed. This isn't the first time that has happened to my work. The last time it was my Hub of the Day. Someone else suggested it was just a link to the Hubs, not the actual content? I don't go on Facebook, so I have no idea how to tell. But thank you very much for bringing this to my attention. I truly appreciate it.

    • Mary McShane profile image

      Mary McShane 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

      On February 1, 2014, this hub

      and on 10/10/2013, this hub

      was copied from you and placed on a Facebook page called OHealth where the work of many other hubbers has also been copied.

      This is bad for you and for us in several regards.

      1) If your work is copied and appears elsewhere, readers have no reason to come to Hubpages to read your hubs.

      2) If you are signed up for HP's Earnings program, this is one hub you are potentially losing revenue for, because it has been stolen by this FB page.

      3) We will all lose earnings on stolen content because as long as the hubs are copied to other pages or websites, the readers will not come here to read and we will lose views = revenue.

      This is the FB page address who stole your hub: go to the dates of the post (I put above with the titles of your hubs)

      Please file a Facebook copyright infringement form (free).

      This is the link to fill out the form:

      Filing copyright infringement forms is the only way we will be able to get our articles taken off this page and any other website who steals our work.

      We need to take a stand against websites who steal our work and put it on their pages. We do not write on HP for our work to be stolen. We write because we enjoy it and because we want to make a few dollars and we can only do that if readers come here to read our work. We get nothing if they read our work elsewhere.

      I wrote about it in this forum, hoping you would see it to know your work was stolen.

      Thank you,


    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hi Scott! Thanks so much for commenting here. It certainly is fun to see how marketing evolved. I have a stack of old magazines here and there are quite a few different ads for various things. Some are entire pages. I wonder how much it was to advertise back then!

    • profile image

      Scott P Williams 

      5 years ago

      There are some great ads from the early and mid 1900s promoting cigarettes similar to yours in this hub. It's interesting to see how marketing has evolved and in many ways stayed the same.

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you so much Dolores. LOL at cod liver oil. The funny thing is I'm allergic to fish oil. I'm also allergic to salmon. But I can take cod liver oil in capsule form. I find that very strange.

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hi Alicia! Thank you so much. I had fun picking through the magazines.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Oh I just loved this one! Your writing is wonderful and I love the images from the old magazine. Fresh air and sunshine yes! Tea yes! But you can keep the cod liver oil, haha! (Voted up and shared)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting hub, and the photos from vintage magazines are fascinating! Thanks for updating the old recommendations for dealing with a cold, too.

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hi CrisSp! Thank you so much for stopping by and your comments. The magazines I have are falling apart on me. Some are in ok condition. I was saddened when I noticed that some are so old they are literally dry rotting on my bookshelf. I have a Thanksgiving edition of one magazine from the late 1800s. That was is so awesome.

    • CrisSp profile image


      5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Very creative! Suits your name so well crafty! And hey, you can sell those vintage clips (magazines) on e-bay. Would you?

      Very entertaining and enjoyable read! Absolutely worth voting and sharing. I applaud you for your effort.

      Keep well now and make sure not to catch those nasty colds! :)

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      I'm sorry to hear you have a cold Samita! There has been a contagious one going through the school here and my children have had it since the beginning of September. They keep getting it back over and over. It's a terrible thing. Thank you for your comments!

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Oh man. I feel for your there Wiccan Sage! I like buttermilk in my biscuits, but I'm not sure I could drink it like that. Thank you for commenting!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      5 years ago

      These are awesome. When I got sick my parents were a stickler for giving me buttermilk. Warm buttermilk. I have no idea where they got this idea, honestly. I used to fight them because I hated it but if I had a fever I had to sit under mountains of blankets, sweating, drinking warm buttermilk.

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      That is very interesting Nell Rose. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Fascinating to see how they did it way back when. My mum always said put your feet in hot water and mustard, and to be honest it does make sense because your feet have all the nerve endings up your body, so it may just work if they get lovely and warm!

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hi Tillsontitan, thank you so much. I have come across so many Lysol ads in these magazines, as well as many others that are so funny.

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you for commenting Wetnose. I used to love watching Shirley Temple.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      What a very inventive use of your magazines while writing a truly interesting and entertaining hub!

      I have to say liquid Lysol was still around and very popular in the sixties!

      This was enjoyable as well as educational.

      Voted up, useful, funny, awesome, and interesting. Shared too.

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      5 years ago from Alabama

      Very creative with your old magazines.

      In the one picture with the babies, the last one almost looks like shirley temple, but she had to be older then, i think.

      Fun read.

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you for commenting Moonlake. I got lucky at one point and found a antique store by a train station. The owner was cleaning up around a room off to the side. I saw a pile of these magazines and asked him how much. $5 for the stack.

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hi Deborah-Lynn. Thanks for your comments.

    • moonlake profile image


      5 years ago from America

      I love old magazines they are so interesting. When I was in the hospital after having my daughter the nurses got upset with me because I crawled in bed and my hair was wet. My hair was very long and after having the baby I had to wash my hair it needed washing. They said I was going to get a cold. I never did get the cold. Voted up on your hub.

    • Deborah-Lynn profile image


      5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Nice Hub, love the Nostalgia!

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting Eiddwen.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      What a wonderful hub; I love any tips and advice from days gone by. Voted up for sure.


    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you Brave! The ads in those magazines are hysterical.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Now you know why you hung on to all those old magazines. Someday you'd be a writer and bring laughter to the board. Cute hub, Crafty!

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comments DDE!

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hi Flourish. This was a lot of fun. I hadn't really had the time to look through all my vintage magazines before. It really put an interesting spin on things when I came across tips for colds from the 1940s. LOL

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hi peachpurple! Thank you so much for commenting.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      10 Tips From 1943 for Dealing With the Common Cold so much of these tips are still practiced, and you did this so perfectly, well presented with such helpful points. The old remedies still work the best.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      I love seeing these little blasts from the past. This is a cute, inventive hub, and I like how you updated it with today's recommendations.

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      great tips

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Elle, I added a little paragraph about children should not be given aspirin and gave you the credit for noticing that I left that out. Thank you again!

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Yes, SO TRUE Elle!!! :D

      Thank you so much for your comments.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love this - although I will say the biggest 1943 vs. 2013 difference I expected to see you note, didn't make the list. Doctors definitely do NOT recommend giving aspirin to children today!

    • CraftytotheCore profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you Billy! I was organizing my studio the other day and took a break to read some of my vintage magazines. Some of the stuff in them is so funny. LOL

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's pretty amazing that the same remedies are being preached today. What I loved about this article, besides your writing of course, were the old ads....some of those pictures are priceless.

      Thanks for the laugh this afternoon, Brandi! Well done!


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