How To Get Over A Cold: 12 Home Remedies That Work

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What else holds the record for being the top reason for individuals missing school or work? What can adults expect at least 2-3 times per year? None other than the common cold. With over 3 million cases in the United States per year, the common cold brings with it bouts of unpleasant and unwelcome coughing and sneezing. It’s a virus that each one of us can relate to having and one we all wish we could get over more quickly. Reconsider your old approach to cracking down on the common cold and consider trying these 12 techniques.

What is the Common Cold?

The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection that can be caused by a number of different viruses. There are more than 200 different types of viruses currently known to cause the common cold, but rhinovirus is the most common among adults.

While it’s more popular in the winter and spring, the common cold can be spread during any season. Individuals infected usually recover from the following symptoms within 7-10 days:

  • Low grade fever
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches

Those with weakened immune systems, asthma, or other respiratory conditions may take longer to heal. They are also at a greater risk for pneumonia and bronchitis.

Protect Yourself From the Common Cold

Cold viruses are spread from infected individuals to others from close personal contact, through the air, and respiratory secretions. Touching a doorknob and shaking hands are easy ways to spread the virus, especially if you touch your face afterward. In addition, infected individuals become contagious 1-2 days before symptoms even begin, which makes it difficult to avoid those who are asymptomatic.

Here are a few techniques to protect yourself from the common cold:

  • Stay away from those who you know are sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water
  • Use hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible

12 Ways To Get Over A Cold

If you’ve done all you can to protect yourself from the common cold and became infected anyway, we’ll share some techniques you can use to get through it. While there is no cure, there are ways to feel better.

1. Fluids Are A Must Have

The common cold increases the risk of dehydration, which is why it’s important to drink more fluids. While water is a household favorite, you can also try juice or warm lemon water with honey to loosen congestion.

Green tea has also shown some promise with helping individuals get over a cold. The amazing antioxidants found in green tea help reduce the infection rate in healthy cells, which reduces fever and other symptoms associated with the common cold.

Drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages should be avoided as they increase the risk of dehydration. In addition, alcohol is also not recommended, but it’s not uncommon to see people seeking number 2 on the list.

2. The Infamous Hot Toddy

While we don’t recommend that you go slinging back cocktails to achieve relief from a cold, many claim that hot toddy’s can provide some relief.  Hot toddy’s are a mix of hot water, honey, lemon, and whiskey; a combination that claims to stop the common cold in its tracks. Whiskey slightly dilates the blood vessels, which can make it easier for mucous membranes to fight the infection. However, it’s important to remember that alcohol can cause dehydration and could in turn make you feel worse. So, what makes the hot toddy a recommended drink? The other ingredients:

3. Salt Water

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For years, people have relied on salt water to soothe sore throats and moisten respiratory passages. With homemade concoctions of saline nasal sprays and gargles, salt water can remove bacteria, allergens, and fungi. Studies show that infected individuals who gargled with salt water were 40% less likely to develop a respiratory tract infection.

4. Peppermint


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A common treat associated with winter festivities, peppermint is also useful for the common cold. A study showed that applying peppermint oil to the forehead during a headache was just as effective as taking Tylenol. Peppermint can also be rubbed on the chest to help with coughing and used as a diaphoretic to promote sweating. However, experts say that it should be used with caution as overdoing it could promote excess coughing.

5. Garlic


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Besides its ability to improve mental health and prevent heart disease, garlic also helps boost the immune system. Those infected with the common cold or the flu claim that eating garlic helped to reduce their symptoms significantly.

A study done on 146 volunteers showed that those who took a daily garlic supplement had a 63% lower risk of developing a cold. For those who did develop a cold, their cold was 70% shorter.

6. Steam

Have you ever noticed how clear your airways become when entering a steamy bathroom? Steam is a natural way to keep the airways clear when battling the common cold. For children, steam is a great alternative to medicine and a go-to for parents.

7. Eat Curry


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If you ever needed an excuse to eat curry, now’s your chance! The spices found in curry can increase airway mucus secretions and salivation, which makes it good for alleviating a sore throat and cough.

8. Chicken Soup Is More Than Good For The Soul

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Research has shown that chicken noodle soup is actually a great way to alleviate cold symptoms. Not only is it delicious, but it also prevents dehydration and promotes comfort. Scientists at the University of Nebraska claim that chicken soup has an anti-inflammatory effect, which could help ease symptoms in the interim.

We highly recommend this Chicken Bone Broth to add to your soup.

9. Stay Warm

Don’t hesitate to grab your socks and a blanket if you’re battling a cold. Staying warm actually helps keep our immune system functioning so we can actively fight it off. When our temperature drops, it weakens our immune system, which makes it difficult for our body to efficiently stave off a cold.

10. Alleviate Stress

Although it’s difficult not to be frustrated when coming down with a cold, it’s important that we use our energy to help us get better. In addition, being stressed makes you twice as likely to get sick in the first place! As the heart rate quickens and the lungs take in additional oxygen, our blood flow increases and suppresses the immune system. Chronic stress leads to an inflammatory response, which can make cold symptoms worse.

11. Rest As Much As Possible

While this may be difficult for the busy body’s out there, it’s important to rest as much as possible when battling a cold. Much like stress, having little sleep will weaken the immune system and make it difficult to fight off the virus. Use this time to go to bed early and take naps throughout the day so your body can heal itself. Also, use an extra pillow to raise your head. Making this small change can help you breathe better by easing sinus pressure.

We highly recommend you check this out to help you sleep.

12. Medicine Is An Option Too

Although this article has focused mainly on natural remedies to get over a cold, there are also over-the-counter options that provide relief. Consider the following:

  • Antihistamines work by blocking the chemical in the body that causes coughing and sneezing. This allows you to take a break from using tissue as it dries up a runny nose.
  • Acetaminophen is often recommended by physicians if you’re in need of a pain reliever or fever reducer. However, consuming too much can be dangerous. Like all medications, pay attention to and follow the directions printed on the label.
  • Decongestant sprays can help relieve bouts of stuffiness by opening up the airways, but taking too much will do the exact opposite. Experts recommend not using them more than three days.

When To Contact A Physician

If you’ve had a cold for more than 10 days and/or your symptoms are more severe than usual, then it may be time to see a physician. Also, children who are younger than 3 months and experience lethargy or a fever should be taken to the doctor. During flu season, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if you have a cold or the flu. Therefore, individuals who are pregnant, younger than 5, older than 65, or have chronic conditions should consult with their doctor.

What is your best home remedy of how to get over a cold? Let us know below.