As soon as cold symptoms hit, you want to get rid of them quickly. It’s hard to focus on the things you love to do when your nose feels stuffy and runny, you can’t stop sneezing, and your throat feels scratchy.
Maybe you’ve heard your doctor, family member, or friend say that there is no cure for the common cold. Unfortunately, they’re correct. Over 200 viruses can cause the common cold, but it’s most commonly caused by a group of viruses known as rhinoviruses.1
To date, there are no antiviral medications that can fight the viruses that cause the common cold. Also, you can’t treat the common cold with antibiotics as these are only used to treat infections caused by bacteria.
The good news? You don’t need to suffer with the symptoms while your body fights off the cold virus. Over-the-counter medicines like DayQuil SEVERE and NyQuil SEVERE can help relieve your toughest cold symptoms.
15 Tips to Get Rid of Cold Symptoms
Drink lots of fluids.
Staying hydrated with lots of fluids can thin your mucus and make it easier for you to drain it from your nose and sinuses.2 Fluids also help to keep the mucous membranes lubricated, which means that you can help eliminate that feeling of dryness in your nose.3
Drink warm liquids.
Fluids are great, but warm drinks are soothing and make you comfortable when you have a cold. Medicated hot drinks offer relief for your cough and sore-throat symptoms by soothing the inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat.4 For relief of cold symptoms like nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, and more, dissolve a packet of Vicks FluTherapy SEVERE Day-Time into a glass of 8 oz. hot water, stir, and sip while hot, within 10-15 minutes.
Sleep it off
Sleep is essential for your body to rest and heal. Research shows that when you’re sleeping, your body makes proteins called cytokines, which are important for fighting infection and inflammation.5
Do your best to adjust your sleep schedule to get that extra rest that will help your body fight off the cold virus.
Keep stress at bay so your body can focus on keeping your immune system in check. Daily meditation breaks can ease stress and help you stay calm: Just close your eyes and focus on your breathing for a few minutes (or longer if you can swing it!).
Use saline nasal drops and sprays.
Non-medicated nasal saline sprays like Sinex Saline Ultra Fine Nasal Mist can help to relieve congestion from a cold.
A saline nasal spray helps to keep nasal passages open by washing out any thick or dried mucus resulting in a more fluid mucus that can drain faster.
Use a neti pot.
You can use a neti pot to rinse particles or mucus from your nose. A neti pot is specially designed to help you flush out mucus. To use it, bend your head sideways over the sink and place the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril, and then pour a saltwater solution into your upper nostril and let the water drain down the lower nose.6 You can also use other devices such as squeeze bottles and pressurized canisters in place of a neti pot.
You can gargle with water containing salt to get relief for a sore throat from a cold. The recommended measurement is ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water.7 The high-salt barrier can pull out a lot of fluids from the tissues in your throat.7
Add moisture to the air.
Use a humidifier or cool mist vaporizer in your bedroom to add moisture back into the air while you sleep. Dry air may further cause irritation inside nose and throat.8
Breathe in some steamy air.
The next time you have a cold that gives you a stuffy nose, try sitting in the bathroom with a warm shower running. You can also breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water. Inhaling warm (not hot) steam can make the mucus thinner,2 which will help your mucus drain better.
Soothe your cough.
When you feel under the weather, it’s hard to feel better; your cold won’t let the cough symptoms quit.
Vicks VapoRub has helped relieve coughs for over 125 years. Rub it on your throat and chest and breathe in the medicated vapors with the familiar scents of eucalyptus, menthol, and camphor to help relieve your cough from a cold.
Adjust your sleeping position
When you lie horizontally, your mucus will be at a standstill. This can result in congestion and cough. When you go to bed, try propping your head up with pillows to help gravity work better for you.9 Sleeping at a sloped angle allows the fluid in your sinuses to keep flowing to avoid congestion and other cold symptoms.
Keep things clean
It’s just as important to keep the virus from spreading to your friends and family as it is to relieve your own symptoms. Make sure to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home and work. Be especially mindful to do so during cold and flu season, or whenever someone around you is sick. Better yet?
Stay home from work and avoid spreading the cold virus to those around you.13
Eat foods that support your immune system
Foods with vitamin C can help to maintain your immune system and get you back to normal quicker.10 Examples of foods that have vitamin C include fruits like oranges, lemons, strawberries, red peppers, mangoes, broccoli, and other fruits and vegetables.10
Eat lots of vegetables, herbs, and spices
When you have a cold, you should target any treatment that reduces inflammation. Eat lots of vegetables, herbs, and spices. Examples of vegetables that can support your immune system are red bell peppers and broccoli.10 Certain spices, for example, curry, garlic, and astragalus are known for treating inflammation.11–12
Use the right over-the-counter (OTC) meds
Non-prescription medicine can help ease your cold symptoms. Although Vicks products cannot cure a cold, they can help you feel better. NyQuil Cold & Flu and DayQuil Cold & Flu are both good options since they contain a pain reliever/fever reducer and cough suppressant. If you’re suffering from additional symptoms, try NyQuil SEVERE Cold & Flu, which also contains a nasal decongestant and DayQuil SEVERE Cold & Flu, which contains an expectorant to help loosen phlegm (mucus) and thin bronchial secretions to make coughs more productive.
Although there is no cure for the common cold, these 15 tips to get rid of a cold can alleviate your symptoms and allow you to get back to your routine activities soon.