Treating a common cold
Treating a cold is something that you can help yourself with. Many people are quick to buy medicine to take. But your body is naturally equipped to heal itself from the virus.
These are some things to consider.
Drink plenty of fluids to replace any fluids you may have lost due to sweating and having a runny nose. Drinking in little bits may be easier than gulping down a whole bottle.
Get plenty of rest. There's no official guidance as to how long a person should stay off work or out of school. Most people usually know when they're fit enough to return to normal activities.
Eat healthily. A low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. What can I eat?
Many children will lose their appetite when they have a cold. However, this is perfectly normal and it should only last for a few days. It's recommended that children with a cold only eat when they're hungry. Do not force them.
In addition to the above, you may also:
Steam inhalation involves sitting with your head over a bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Avoid getting the hot steam in your eyes.
The steam may help to ease your congestion by loosening mucus and making it easier to clear by blowing your nose. Adding menthol, eucalyptus, camphor, thymol or pine oil to the water may help to clear the passageways in your nose.
Steam inhalation is not advised for children due to the risk of scalding. Instead, a child may benefit from sitting in a hot, steamy bathroom. Children must be supervised.
Gargling with salt water can sometimes help to relieve the symptoms of a sore throat and nasal congestion. Avoid or minimise swallowing.
Vapour rubs on your chest and back can help to soothe the symptoms of a cold, and even in babies and young children. Don't apply it to their nostrils.
Some people find that sucking a menthol sweet can help to relieve the symptom of a sore throat.
Nasal saline drops.
Nasal saline drops or sprays can help relieve the symptoms of nasal congestion in babies and young children. Nasal saline drops contain salt water so they're thought to work in the same way as gargling salt, but they're often better tolerated in babies and young children.
Nasal saline drops or sprays are available from most pharmacists.
Important: Check with your doctor to confirm that it is OK to take medicines
In many countries, especially the UK and USA, there are OTC (Over the counter medicines) that people take. There is no solid evidence that medicine for cold work. But people believe that they feel better after taking them. These include cough syrups and nasal decongestants.
Pain relief medicines like Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and Asprain are the only types of medicines known to be effective in treating colds.
Medicines may have side effects.