The common cold, caused by a virus, can strike anyone without much notice. Cold symptoms typically include sore throat, congestion, runny nose, fatigue, and cough. While the condition has no cure, a cold may only last a few days or up to two weeks. Still, there are ways to relieve uncomfortable cold symptoms, including medicine, rest, and natural treatments.
Over-the-counter medicine is often used in treating cold symptoms. Analgesics, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be particularly helpful in assisting with cold symptoms such as muscle aches, headaches, and fever. Cough suppressants are another over-the-counter medicine that send messages to the brain to keep the body from coughing. Expectorants aid in diluting mucus, making it easier for the patient to cough up the mucus. Decongestants reduce the size of nasal passages in order to alleviate congestion.
Getting plenty of rest, particularly for someone suffering from a fever, is another way to bring about relief for a cold. Taking it easy helps the body to ward off infections. Rest allows the body to concentrate on letting the immune system do its job.
Consuming lots of fluid may also help alleviate pesky symptoms of a cold. Chicken soup — a traditional home remedy for colds — possesses cysteine, an amino acid that helps to reduce mucus. Drinking plenty of liquids, particularly water and juice, help to keep the body properly hydrated. Hot liquids, such as tea, alleviates nasal congestion and also eases irritated membranes around the nose and throat.
Steam may also be effective in relieving cold symptoms. A warm bath may bring relief for aches and pains. Also, taking a hot steamy shower helps a person to inhale more easily, as the steam dampens nasal passages. Another option is to inhale the steam by running the shower on the hottest temperature possible while sitting on a chair in the bathroom.
Hot or cold packs may be effective in bringing comfort for clogged sinuses. Hot or cold packs can often be found at a pharmacy. Also, a person can use homemade hot or cold packs. A damp washcloth can be heated in the microwave for less than a minute. A cold compress can be made by adding ice cubes to a washcloth or by using frozen vegetables.
For an annoying sore throat, gargling can produce short-term relief. Typically, a person can gargle with warm water, and a small amount of salt several times a day to help with a sore throat. Other options for gargling include tea or a solution made of hot water and honey. Hard candy or cough drops also can alleviate a scratchy throat.