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Common Cold Remedies: Simple Tips To Help Relieve The Discomfort Of The Common Cold

Updated on January 18, 2016

No matter how religiously we take Vitamin C, how often we wash our hands, or how hard we try to avoid sick co-workers, we always manage to come down with at least one cold every year. The common cold is a fact of life for most people. But even though it's so common, a lot of us still aren't quite sure what to do when we've got one.

Catching a cold sucks.
Catching a cold sucks.

The moment we have determined that we have a cold, the first thing to remember is that no doctor can give us a drug to "cure" it, because there is no drug that can "cure" the common cold. The only think doctors can do is prescribe medicines that will relieve the symptoms of the common cold and make us feel a little better until the cold runs its course, which is usually about three days.

In the meantime, here are some simple tips that we can follow to help relieve the discomfort of the common cold:

  • Drink plenty of liquids - about eight to ten glasses of non-alcoholic liquids each day. Warm or hot beverages like herbal tea or hot cocoa are often more soothing than cold beverages since they unclog the nasal passages, but try to drink as much water as you can in addition to your other liquids.
  • Stop smoking. Your body is trying to get rid of your cold, and smoking slows down that process by decreasing the ability of the cells in the lungs to keep the air passages clear and clean.

  • If you have a runny nose, try to stay calm and just put up with it. A runny nose is your body's natural way of flushing out the virus that caused your cold in the first place, so be happy and visualize the virus dripping out of your nose and out of your body. Keep a box of tissues beside you and try not to take any medicines that will stop your nose from running. Let your body do its job.
  • If you have a stuffed-up nose, try an over-the-counter nasal decongestant to "unstuff" your nose. This will help you breathe a little easier.
  • The best way to treat a fever is to drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest. A fever is a sign that your body is fighting off the sickness. Unfortunately, a high fever can be very dangerous, so take some aspirin or paracetamol (a.k.a. acetaminophen) if you need to bring your fever down.
  • If you have a "productive" cough, meaning you are coughing up phlegm, try to let it take its course. A productive cough is your body's way of cleaning out any fluids, mucus or other unwanted substances in the lungs caused by the cold.
  • Drinking warm liquids or eating warm soup will help the lungs do their job since the warm moisture loosens the mucus and makes it easier for your lungs to cough it up. Expectorant cough medicines will help speed up the process of coughing up the phlegm and mucus as well.
  • Try standing in a hot shower or even sitting in the bathroom while someone else takes a hot shower. The steam will help loosen the mucus in your lungs.
  • If you have a "dry" cough, meaning you are not coughing up any phlegm or mucus, you might need to use an over-the-counter cough suppressant (a.k.a. antitussive) to help stop the coughing. And drink plenty of liquids to keep your lungs and throat from becoming dry and irritated.
  • To soothe sore throats, try drinking warm liquids or warm soup broth.

When To Call Your Doctor

The tips above can help you ease the discomfort of the common cold. But if you start to experience any of the following, call your doctor immediately:

  • If your fever goes over 103 degrees Fahrenheit or 39.4 degrees Celsius. Extremely high body temperatures can cause seizures and even brain damage especially in children.
  • If you have a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit / 37.8 degrees Celsius or more for more than four straight days, you could be dealing with something more serious than a common cold
  • If you experience sharp pains in your chest when you cough or take deep breaths.
  • If you have pus, which look like white or yellow spots, on the back of your throat or tonsils. You might be dealing with a strep throat and not just the common cold.
  • If you have swollen or painful glands or bumps in front of your neck or under your jawbone along with a sore throat.
  • If you cough up blood.


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    • Susan Ng profile image

      Susan Ng Yu 6 years ago

      You're welcome, Mookashacka. Hope you get well soon. :) And thanks, everyone. :)

    • profile image

      Mookashacka 6 years ago

      I'll ask mom if we have any chicken for soup tonight.


    • profile image

      Kate 6 years ago

      Aloe Vera makes a great addition to a cold/flu defense regimen. Aloe is nutritionally rich (vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E and minerals including zinc) and has been credited with inhibiting the functioning and spread of certain viruses, including influenza. In addition to boosting the immune system, Aloe has the added bonus of easing cold and flu symptoms- for info and recipes, check out

    • profile image

      KatieBaloo 6 years ago

      Great Post!

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 6 years ago from Atlanta

      Susan this is a very well written article, and love the cartoon pic. Your hub is very resourceful!

    • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

      Lita C. Malicdem 7 years ago from Philippines

      We are all sufferers from common cold and we need medical advice for it, including tips from others resourced from reliable experienced people. This hub is useful. Yes, I do hydrotherapy(use of water) for cold relief.

    • Susan Ng profile image

      Susan Ng Yu 7 years ago

      I hope you get well soon, Rita. And thank you for your input and the compliment, Sullen91. :)

    • Sullen91 profile image

      Sullen91 7 years ago from Mid-Atlantic Region, US

      Instead of pointing out that the common cold is incurable, you could make reference to the reason why that is so. Also, you may want to reconsider the advice of not smoking. Nicotine withdrawal in conjunction with a cold is probably going to compound the effects and cause agony.

      Overall, this is well written, informative, and intelligent.

    • profile image

      Rita  7 years ago

      This is a very timely post I am suffering with a cold at the moment and i am glad to say I am doing all the things you suggest

      good work