Home Remedies: What Works, What Doesn’t, What Can’t Hurt Your Cold

From Mayo Clinic News Network
Mayo Clinic News Network

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This article from the Mayo Clinic takes a look at effective and ineffective cold remedies. Judge for yourself.

Mayo Clinic News Network

Cold remedies are almost as common as the common cold, but are they effective?

Nothing can cure a cold, but there are some remedies that might help ease your symptoms and keep you from feeling so miserable. Here’s a look at some common cold remedies and what’s known about them.


If you catch a cold, you can expect to be sick for one to two weeks. That doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. Besides getting enough rest, these remedies might help you feel better:

-Stay hydrated. Water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water with honey helps loosen congestion and prevents dehydration. Avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas, which can make dehydration worse.

-Rest. Your body needs to heal.

-Soothe a sore throat. A saltwater gargle 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water, can temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat. Children younger than 6 years are unlikely to be able to gargle properly.

You can also try ice chips, sore throat sprays, lozenges or hard candy. Don’t give lozenges or hard candy to children younger than 3 to 4 years old because they can choke on them. Combat stuffiness. Over-the-counter saline nasal drops and sprays can help relieve stuffiness and congestion. In infants, experts recommend putting several saline drops into one nostril, then gently suctioning that nostril with a bulb syringe. To do this, squeeze the bulb, gently place the syringe tip in the nostril about (about 6 to 12 millimeters) and slowly release the bulb. Saline nasal sprays may be used in older children.

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