Top remedies for the common cold

February 15, 2024

Primary Care Urology
Man Cold

The common cold is a mild upper respiratory infection that can affect anyone. It is a very – you guessed it – common illness that plagues people year-round. According to the National Library of Medicine, the average adult has two or three colds annually, while children have even more.

“The common cold is an infection in your nose and throat, also known as your upper respiratory tract,” explains Robin Karasek, M.D., an internal medicine physician with Riverside Center for Internal & Family Medicine in Hampton. Read on as we clarify some myths about the common cold and the most effective remedies.

Myths about the common cold

Every season, several myths circulate about the common cold. Let’s dispel a few here so you can start feeling better as quickly as possible.

Myth: You need an antibiotic medication to treat a cold

False. Antibiotic medications will not cure a cold. “That’s because viruses cause colds, and antibiotics treat infections caused by bacteria,” says Dr. Karasek.

Myth: You’ve just gotten over the cold, so you can’t catch another one right away

False. According to the American Lung Association, over 200 known viruses can cause the common cold. Therefore, even after recovering from a cold, you could become infected with a different virus.

Myth: The common cold can cause a high fever

False. A high fever is not a usual symptom of the common cold. A high fever may mean a more serious illness developed when a cold compromised your immune system. You should contact your doctor immediately if you have a high fever.

Remedies for the common cold

In nearly all cases, you can treat common cold symptoms at home. Dr. Karasek recommends:

  • Drink as much clear fluid as you can so you don’t become dehydrated.
  • Gargle with warm salt water to soothe a sore throat.
  • Get plenty of rest so your body can heal.
  • Use a humidifier to keep your nasal passages hydrated and less irritated.
  • Use cough drops or lozenges to soothe a sore throat.
  • Use saline nasal spray to flush out your nasal passages and relieve congestion.

Over-the-counter medications for the common cold

Depending on your symptoms, your local pharmacy has a variety of medicines available to treat the common cold. You may want to take a pain reliever if you’re experiencing a sore throat. You may want to try cough and cold medication if you have a cough.

Always speak with your pharmacist or primary care provider before taking any medication, including over-the-counter medicine. The ingredients in some medications – including cough medicines – can be harmful to groups such as young children or adults who take other prescriptions.

Get care today

If your cold doesn’t go away after 10 days or your symptoms worsen, make an appointment with Dr. Karasek or your Riverside Health System primary care provider.

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