What Is the Best Cold Relief?

There is no cure for the common cold, but there are some remedies that can help relieve symptoms.
There are home remedies that can help break up congestion from a cold.
Chicken soup can relieve cold symptoms.
Pseudoephedrine and other oral decongestants reduce congestion.
Honey is a cough suppressant and may help relieve a sore throat.
Lots of rest can help when fighting a cold.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2014
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Many people will rejoice the day scientists find a cure for the common cold, but until that point, the world generates an endless list of suggestions for cold relief. Choosing which of these are the best is really up to the individual. Some families have patent cold remedies and others will go through a series of cold relief suggestions with each rhinovirus, hoping that something makes the cold feel a little less miserable.

It’s appropriate to discuss some methods people routinely believe are cold relief, and which don’t address symptoms. Antihistamines, so good at treating allergies, don’t reduce congestion, unless a person also has allergies. Antibiotics won’t provide relief because colds are viruses; they’re only useful if a person gets a secondary infection from the cold. Over-feeding or starving a cold isn’t considered helpful, and people should simply try to eat a healthy diet.


At the same time, people might reach for the wrong cold relief remedies, they may ignore some of the folk remedies that could be useful. Chicken soup does seem to reduce days of illness slightly, perhaps because it provides the body with needed liquids. Nasal rinsing, which comes from ancient Ayurvedic practices may promote some comfort, and might prevent sinus infections. It won’t necessarily cure a cold any sooner, but many people assert they feel better with two nasal rinse or neti pot treatments a day. The simplicity of drinking lots of fluids is recommended highly because greater fluid intake may help thin nasal secretions.

There are plenty of cold relief remedies at the drug store, including a plethora of cold and cough medicines. Doctors often advise people to use these with caution and to be particularly careful reading labels if they take drugs like high blood pressure medicine, blood thinners, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Oral decongestants like pseudoephedrine may result in reduced congestion and medicines like guaifenesin could help with cough. The general recommendation is to take these if necessary, but to avoid taking unnecessary medicines. Don’t take a cold and cough remedy if only nasal congestion is present, and avoid taking drugs with pain relievers, if no fever or pain is present.

Cold relief can diverge into areas where results are unproven. This is the case with many herbal remedies that are said to shorten the length of a cold. Some of the herbal/natural remedies recommended include zinc, echinacea, and vitamin C. Other candidates are ginger and cinnamon.

One natural remedy that may be of particular use when coughing is honey, which does appear to reduce cough. Another, which many people will find extremely popular, is chocolate. Some studies suggest it tames a cough too, and it’s certainly sweet cold relief.

There’s an old saying that a cold gets better in two weeks with treatment and fourteen days without treatment. Most people won’t find much reduction in days of snuffly suffering, no matter the remedy. Still, any safe treatment that promotes a little comfort may be well worth trying.


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