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The Common Cold - Which Treatments Work?

You’re feeling lousy and have the common cold. Unfortunately, the common cold has no cure but, there are a few things to help you start feeling better.

  • Rest! Getting plenty of rest will help decrease the days that you have the common cold. You may feel like sleeping for 12 hours and that is perfectly fine. Your body is telling you that you need to rest. So grab a blanket, and curl up for a nice long nap.
  • Stay Hydrated - Try consuming as many fluids as possible and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Saltwater Gargle - To help soothe your sore throat, mix ¼- ½ tsp of salt with 8 ounces of water and gargle for about 60 seconds.
  • Cough drops, lozenges - May add some relief to your throat as well.
  • Cough syrups - There are many OTC medicines that will help to treat your common cold symptoms. For children, first check with the childs PCP regarding which OTC meds are appropriate for that child. For adults taking OTC cough meds, check with their PCP to see if they have any concerns about allergies and if they are on any other medicaiton.
  • Decongestant nasal drops/sprays - These are safe to use up to 5 days into your cold. Extensive use can lead to rebound symptoms. For children, first check with the childs PCP regarding which OTC meds are appropriate for that child. For adults taking OTC cough meds, check with their PCP to see if they have any concerns about allergies and if they are on any other medicaiton.
  • Pain relievers - Can help to relieve your symptoms, such as Tylenol (Acetaminophen). For children, first check with the childs PCP regarding which OTC meds are appropriate for that child. For adults taking OTC cough meds, check with their PCP to see if they have any concerns about allergies and if they are on any other medicaiton.
  • Eat Carrots - Yes, you read that right! Carrots are packed with Vitamin A (helps fight free radicals), and beta-carotene (helps your body repair a damaged immune system). Mix them into soup, eat them raw, in your favorite dinner dish, or in a salad.
  • Know if you should go to work or not - We all need a day to rest when we are sick. If your symptoms worsen over several days, you can make a visit to your PCP. Below is a list from the CDC about knowing the difference between the Flu and the Common Cold. Educate yourself so that you do not infect those around you.

One specific treatment may not work so try a variety of these methods to seek relief from the common cold. Rest, eat healthy/stay hydrated and take something to help you feel better!   

Is it a cold or flu?
Signs & Symptoms
Influenza
Cold
Symptom onset
Abrupt
Gradual
Fever
Usual
Rare
Aches
Usual
Slight
Chills
Fairly common
Uncommon
Fatigue, weakness
Usual
Sometimes
Sneezing
Sometimes
Common
Stuffy nose
Sometimes
Common
Sore throat
Sometimes
Common
Chest discomfort, cough
Common
Mild to moderate
Headache
Common
Rare

   References
1. Common cold. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/commonCold/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed March 12, 2015.
2. Symptom relief. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/symptom-relief.html?s_cid=cs_074. Accessed March 12, 2015.
3. Pappas DE, et al. The common cold in children: Treatment and prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 12, 2015.