There are probably more myths, mysteries and bizarre home remedies associated with colds than with any other ailment.
Colds and flu are caused by viruses, rather than bacteria, so antibiotics don’t work.
1. Take rest and drink lots of fluids
First, get lots of rest. Stay warm and dry. Because fever causes dehydration, drink plenty of fluids. For a sore throat, gargle warm salt water every four hours and use throat lozenges.
2. Eat Spicy Foods
If there is a vomiting or diarrhea, stick to clear liquids. Otherwise, eat as you normally would. In fact, some home remedies urge you to eat all the spicy foods you can stand to clear the congestion of a cold.
Spicy foods make your nose and eyes run, which helps clear congestion. Some foods such as cloves and hot peppers have an expectorant effect that helps you cough up mucus and keep the lungs clear.
Since you probably don’t feel like being around people when you have a cold, load up on garlic. Some people crush a few cloves of garlic and use them in a sandwich spread. Others make tea out of them. You can also take garlic in capsule form.
Catnip is sometimes called ‘natures’s Alka-Seltzer’ for its anti-acid effect. Catnip tea also soothes a sore throat and may help loosen phlegm.
5. Hot Chicken Soup
And here’s medical evidence that Mom’s chicken soup is a winner. Dr. Marvin sacker, a pulmonary specialist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, says that sipping hot chicken soup speeds up the rate at which mucus is cleared from the nose. That lessens the amount of time the cold viruses stick around, thus boosting the body’s natural defenses against colds. He also believes there is a chemical ingredient in the soup that does the trick since cold chicken soup also helps.
6. Vitamin-D and C
Some people swear by vitamin-D; others scoff at it. But, like chicken soup, the evidence does indicate that taking extra vitamin C may shorten the duration of a cold and ease all that coughing and sneezing.
So, along with your chicken soup, down lots of orange, grapefruit or cranberry juice. They all are rich sources of vitamin-C.
7. Over the counter remedies
Over the counter remedies for colds include decongestants such as pseudoephedrine to decrease sneezing, postnasal drip and clogged nasal passages. Nonprescription cough medicines containing dextromethorphan are effective for suppressing a dry cough.
Treat an adult’s fever with acetaminophen, or aspirin, every four hours.
But remember, don’t give aspirin to children with colds, flu or other viral infections such as chicken pox. Many Doctors believe that aspirin, in combination with these viruses, increases the risk of developing Reye’s syndrome, a very serious brain, and liver disorder.