All of us are familiar with the symptoms of a common cold – runny nose, sore throat, cough and watery eyes. While most colds don’t last for more than a few days, we’re often keen to find ways to help ease our symptoms.
Because a cold is caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t help, but there are a few simple things you can try at home to help you start to feel better.
Here are our top tips to help ease the symptoms of a common cold:
Even though a cold is a minor illness, your body is still fighting an infection, and it does it best if you find time to slow down and rest. If life is busy, try going to bed early, staying at home when you can and leaving all non-essential tasks – such as housework – until you’re feeling better.
2. Stay hydrated
Make sure to drink plenty of water. Warm lemon and honey drinks can help soothe a sore throat, and if you’re not feeling hungry try some hot soup.
3. Manage nasal congestion
Saline nasal sprays drops and rinses can also be helpful to ease a blocked nose. You can buy these over the counter from your pharmacy or can make your own at home. Find out how.
Warm moist air can also help to relieve blocked noses. You don’t need to invest in a humidifier or vapouriser, try breathing in the steam from a warm shower.
Decongestants can also help to unblock a stuffy or blocked nose and are available as nasal sprays or as tablets or capsules. Decongestant nasal sprays clear a blocked nose immediately but tablets or capsules may take a little longer to work because they need to be absorbed into your body.
4. Relieve a sore throat
Medications from your pharmacy such as lozenges or throat sprays can help ease a scratchy or sore throat. Always read the label and follow the advice of your pharmacist.
Paracetamol can help ease the aches and pains associated with a cold such as headache. Paracetamol can also be used to treat a fever, but mild fever doesn’t need to be treated unless it’s causing discomfort.
6. Be patient
Often you have to be patient to fully recover from a cold. It can be common for a fever to last for 3 to 5 days, nasal congestion for 7 to 10 days and a cough can last for 2 to 4 weeks. If you are worried about your symptoms or feel like you are getting worse, talk to your doctor or nurse or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice about what to do.
Read more about colds including how to prevent them from spreading and when to see a doctor.
Cold season: managing without antibiotics BPAC NZ, 2018