You don't have to suffer through your cold or flu. Find the best remedies to relieve symptoms and get healthy quickly.
With cold and flu season upon us, you're probably looking into the most effective remedies for how to beat a cold. Common symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and body aches can make it hard to even get out of bed. A common cold typically lasts one to two weeks, but there are plenty of ways you can start to feel better as your body recovers.
While there's no actual cure for a common cold, there are dozens of remedies you can use to help minimize symptoms, prevent complications, and get back to your old self. Here are some tips on how to beat a cold and feel better faster.
Over-the-counter cold and pain medicines can help relieve your symptoms but there are some holistic changes that can be beneficial as well.
- Stay hydrated: According to WebMD, getting plenty of fluids helps to thin mucus and break up congestion. It also prevents the headaches and fatigue associated with dehydration. Keep a water bottle on hand throughout the day and try to avoid coffee, sodas, and alcohol as they can have the opposite effect.
- Sleep: There's not much that a good night's sleep can't help. Resting your body helps to heal it.
- Add honey: Pour a little in your herbal tea or eat it right off the spoon! Coating your throat with honey can help soothe soreness and irritation. Plus, it's rich in immunity-strengthening antioxidants.
- Use a humidifier: Adding moisture to the air, especially in dry winter months, can help loosen congestion and keep your nasal passages moist.
- Sip chicken soup: Your mom was right! Her chicken soup, or even one you make yourself, really can help you feel better. Several studies have proven that the healing powers of chicken soup are more than a myth. One study found that it eases congestion and another showed that it helps reduce upper respiratory cold symptoms.
There are many OTC medications that can help alleviate symptoms, and you should speak to your doctor or Rite Aid Pharmacist about the best options for you. Here's a rundown of OTC medications that can help you breathe easier, cough less, and rest peacefully:
- Pain relief: Pain relievers like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil) can reduce body aches and associated muscle pains. Use caution when administering aspirin to children, as it has been linked to a rare, but serious illness known as Reye's Syndrome. Children and teenagers who have or are recovering from chicken pox or flu-like symptoms should not take aspirin.
- Cough suppressants: Cough suppressants and expectorants, such as MucinexDM, can help reduce your cough while thinning the mucus in your chest and relieving congestion.
- Nasal decongestants: Decongestants, in pill or syrup form, such as Sudafed PE or Rite Aid Nasal Decongestant PE, can shrink the blood vessels in your nose to open up air passages, making it easier to breathe. Another decongestant option is a nasal spray that may work faster than a pill. Nasal sprays should only be used for two to three days in a row—after that, they may worsen your congestion.
- Throat soothers: Lozenges or throat sprays can help relieve that dry, scratchy feeling and can make swallowing less painful. Many lozenges also contain cough suppressant medications so you can find extra relief in one candy-like soother.
- Multi-symptom relief: Most cold relief products reduce multiple symptoms at the same time, so you may only need one medication to feel better. If you are using multiple products, talk to your Rite Aid Pharmacist or doctor to make sure you aren't doubling up on any ingredients.
While winter colds may be inevitable, there are plenty of ways to jumpstart your recovery. With these tricks up your sleeve, you'll be healthy and sneeze-free in no time!
By Joelle Klein
WebMD, 10 Ways to Feel Better Now
Mayo Clinic, Cold remedies: What works, what doesn't, what can't hurt
Healthline, 11 Cold and Flu Home Remedies
Prevention, Bounce Back From a Cold or Flu — Fast
The New York Times, The Science of Chicken Soup
WebMD, A Guide to Cold Medicine for Adults