At-Home Treatments for the Common Cold

For most minor colds, cozying up on the couch with a full tissue box and watching “Bridget Jones’s Diary” for a day or two will be enough to ride out the worst of it. Sometimes, that is just not enough. We know that symptoms like fever, congestion, and coughing are our bodies’ way of getting rid of a cold. When the cold symptoms really start to drain you, find some comfort in a few of these at-home remedies.

  • Nasal Warm Water Rinse: A stuffy nose can be so irritating. If you are looking for relief, combine 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water. Then, use a nasal irrigation tool or bulb syringe to squirt water up one nostril, while placing a finger on the other nostril to hold it shut. Drain the nostril fully. Do this for two or three rounds, then switch to the other nostril.
  • Mentholated Salve: Having trouble breathing through your nose? No fear, a simple mentholated salve can help. Rub a small portion of a salve with camphor, eucalyptus, or menthol just under your nose. This will make it easier to breathe and soothe the dry skin in that area. Do not put the salve inside your nose.  
  • Gargle Salt Water: If your throat is sore, try this trick. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Gargle for 30 seconds at a time, and spit out when you are done. Do this four times a day for maximum relief. Bonus! You can also gargle a tea with tannin to help with a tickly throat. 
  • Ginger Tea: Place a few slices of raw ginger root in boiling water, and drink at your leisure. You can also purchase a ginger tea. This drink can provide cough or sore throat relief. Ginger is also a lovely remedy for nausea. 
  • Humidifiers: It might be time to invest in a humidifier if you frequently get colds. A cool mist humidifier can make it easier to breathe while experiencing congestion. Add eucalyptus oil to really activate your breath. A long shower with lots of steam can provide a similar effect, but make sure to have something to hold onto if you get dizzy.
  • Elevated Sleep: Use two pillows to sleep at night. This will allow your sinuses to drain and make sleeping with a cold much more comfortable. Keep a box of tissues at the ready. 

These at-home remedies might relieve some of the most persistent symptoms. Feel better!