While there is no real cure for a cold beyond letting the body fight off the virus, there are several types of common cold treatment that can help ease symptoms and boost immunity. Getting enough rest is very important, as is keeping the body hydrated. A variety of over-the-counter medications are available to help reduce fever, congestion, and coughing. Certain types of food like chicken soup are known to help ease symptoms, and taking vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements may help increase the body's immune response. Other methods for reducing cold symptoms include using a humidifier, gargling with saltwater, and using nasal saline drops.
Rest and hydration are some of the most important parts of common cold treatment. The body needs plenty of rest while it is fighting the virus, so patients should sleep as much as they need to and minimize activity. They should also drink large quantities of water, juice, and other non-alcoholic and caffeine-free beverages to replace the fluids being lost due to fever and congestion.
Patients suffering from uncomfortable symptoms may want to include over-the-counter medications as part of their common cold treatment. NSAIDs or acetaminophen can be used to bring down fever, and also help with body aches, headaches, and sore throats. Decongestant pills or nasal sprays can help reduce mucous production and ease a stuffy or runny nose. For those with a severe cough that makes sleeping difficult, a cough suppressant may be a good choice.
Another type of common cold treatment is eating the right foods. Chicken soup is a well-known home remedy that research has shown helps ease congestion and boosts immunity. Spicy foods may help ease congestion as well. Patients should generally try to eat healthy foods while being sick to give their bodies as much nutrition as possible to fight the infection.
Some types of nutritional supplements may help when treating a cold. Vitamin C in particular is thought to be good for reducing the time a cold lasts, as is zinc. Echinacea is also thought to help increase immune function.
For those who prefer home remedies to drugs for symptom reduction, there are several options for common cold treatment. Keeping the room warm can make patients more comfortable, as can moistening the air with a humidifier. Saltwater gargles may be effective for soothing a sore throat. Nasal saline drops can moisten irritated nasal passageways and help reduce congestion.