- Resting in bed.
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
- Gargling with warm salt water (or using throat sprays or lozenges).
- Using a cool–mist humidifier.
- Taking common cold medicine.
For common cold treatment, fluids such as water, juice, soup, and non–caffeinated beverages can help loosen mucus, keep you hydrated, and make you feel better, especially if you have a fever.
Alcohol and drinks containing caffeine may have a dehydrating effect, so avoid them when you are experiencing cold symptoms.
Common cold treatment: gargle and humidify
Gargling with salt water can help relieve a sore throat. A cool–mist humidifier, which breaks water into droplets and releases them into the air, may help relieve stuffy noses. Keep the humidifier clean to avoid a buildup of mold, which could be harmful if inhaled.
For a raw nose, use petroleum jelly.
Common cold treatment in children
Check with a pediatrician or your family physician before giving common cold medication to children. Your healthcare provider can ensure that you are giving your child the correct medicine at the proper dosage based on the child’s weight.
Saline nasal drops and suctioning with a bulb syringe can help infants and small children breathe better. But be gentle, because aggravating the nasal passages could make swelling worse. Also, dress sick children comfortably – like you would dress yourself. Some parents bundle up their children if they have a fever, but that can make it worse.
A note of caution: Several studies have linked aspirin use to the development of Reye’s syndrome in children recovering from flu or chickenpox. Reye’s syndrome is a rare but serious illness that usually occurs in children between the ages of 3 and 12 years. It can affect all organs of the body, but most often affects the brain and liver. While most children who survive an episode of Reye’s syndrome do not suffer any lasting consequences, the illness can lead to permanent brain damage or death. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children and teenagers not be given aspirin or medicine containing aspirin when they have any viral illness such as the common cold.