Authored by Revere Health

Tips To Ease Your Common Cold Symptoms

February 25, 2019 | Family Medicine

Americans get more than 1 billion colds each year according to the National Library of Medicine. No cure exists for the common cold, but you can take steps to ease your symptoms. From home remedies to over-the-counter drugs to simple self-care, here’s what you need to know about staying comfortable when you have a cold.

Why a Cold Can’t Be Cured

Colds are caused by a virus. Many people think an antibiotic can treat a cold, but these drugs are effective only for fighting illnesses caused by bacteria. Using an antibiotic for a cold can create antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the body, which may be dangerous if you need antibiotics in the future.

Why is the cold is so difficult to treat? The common cold is actually a number of different viruses. This means medication that can treat one type of cold won’t work for another. Researchers are working to find a common feature among cold viruses and target that feature with medication.

How To Treat Symptoms

Most symptoms of a cold can be treated at home. Tips include:

#1 Drink plenty of fluids but stick to clear broth, water, juice and lemon water with honey. Alcohol or caffeine can cause dehydration. Warm liquids like chicken broth can also be soothing.

#2 Get plenty of rest. Sleeping helps your body fight the cold. Also, be sure to stay home from work and school to avoid spreading the virus to others.

#3 Add moisture to the air with a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier but use only clean water.

#4 If you have a sore throat, ease the pain with:

  • Over-the-counter throat sprays and drops. These should not be used for children under six.
  • Ice chips or cold drinks. This also helps you stay hydrated.
  • A gargle solution of ½ teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water.

#6 For a runny or stuffy nose, try over-the-counter nasal drops and sprays. If your infant or toddler has a cold, you can clear the nasal passages with a bulb syringe.

#7 Fever and pain can be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Do not give acetaminophen to children younger than six months old.

When to Seek Medical Care

Sometimes cold symptoms require medical attention. You should see a doctor if you have:

  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • A fever that doesn’t improve with medication
  • Fever of more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Sweats and/or chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • A cough that lasts more than two weeks
  • Ongoing headache and congestion

In addition to the symptoms above, children may have an earache or drainage from the ear. Some of these symptoms can be caused by a more serious illness, such as a sinus infection, asthma or pneumonia, so it’s crucial to see a doctor.

How to Prevent Colds

You can take steps to prevent a cold, such as:

  • Washing your hands often.
  • Cleaning surfaces in your home and workplace with an antibacterial spray
  • Eating healthy foods and getting enough exercise and rest.If you aren’t feeling well, stay home to avoid spreading cold germs.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor if you have cold symptoms that worsen or don’t go away. He or she can recommend the best treatment for you.


Revere Health Orem Family Medicine is devoted to comprehensive healthcare for patients of all ages and providing thorough and timely healthcare for the entire family throughout all stages of life.



“Cold remedies: What works, what doesn’t, what can’t hurt.“ Mayo Clinic.

“Are We Closer to Curing the Common Cold?” Healthline.

“When Should I See a Doctor for a Cold or Flu?” WebMD.

“Common Cold.” MedlinePlus.

The Live Better Team


The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.