5. Investigate OTC Pain Relievers
Pain relievers can be helpful for the aches and pains that often accompany the common cold. Acetaminophen is the active ingredient contained in Tylenol. This medication is analgesic, which means it relieves pain. It is also an antipyretic, which means it lowers fever. Ibuprofen is the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent (NSAID) found in Motrin or Advil. NSAIDs work on prostaglandins and thereby reduce the pain and fever of the common cold. Used properly, these medications can go far in reducing nagging cold symptoms. Be sure to read the label and use properly in order to prevent side effects.
4. Humidify the Air
A dry, scratchy throat can be one aggravating symptom of a cold. Use of a cool mist vaporizer may provide relief while moisturizing membranes. The added moisture in the air can also help break up mucus in your lungs and help you breathe more easily. Make sure to keep your vaporizer clean and free from bacteria, mold, and mineral deposits from water. Use distilled water instead of tap water to decrease the number of minerals running through your machine. Check the filter often and replace it when old or damaged.
3. Try Honey
Adding honey to your tea or lemon water is a delicious way to fight a cold. The Mayo Clinic reports that honey may be a great way to suppress a cough—rivaling the effects of cough medicines. If you don’t care to mix honey into your tea, try it straight. Take two teaspoons of honey at bedtime to prevent a nagging nighttime cough. While honey is a safe and natural way to treat adult coughs, never give honey to infants. Babies less than one year of age are susceptible to the Clostridium botulinum bacteria that can be found in honey.
2. Consider Zinc
Studies show zinc lozenges may be helpful in treating rhinovirus, a virus that attacks your upper respiratory system. To benefit from zinc, you must take it within the first 24 hours of symptoms. When you do this, you can decrease the amount of time you suffer from a cold by one day. Side effects of zinc include nausea and a bad taste in the mouth. Never use nasal sprays that contain zinc, as they can affect your sense of smell.Related: Signs You May Have a Zinc Deficiency
Echinacea is an herb that may help decrease the length of your cold if taken during the first 24 hours. While some studies show it to be effective, others show the effectiveness to be minimal. Echinacea supplements are available as tablets, lozenges, liquids, and teas. There are many varieties of echinacea products available, and they tend to come in varying strengths. Additionally, cough drops containing echinacea may soothe your cough. Side effects of echinacea can be an upset stomach or diarrhea.