Many people expect antibiotics to cure every minor illness. However, when it comes to the common cold, antibiotics are of little use. Antibiotics treat infections caused by bacteria and have no effect on colds which are caused by viruses.
- Conventional medicines can help with the symptoms of a cold. However, if the cold is causing symptoms such as muscle pain, headaches or a sore throat, painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can help to reduce any discomfort
- Cough medicines may be required to help treat colds. Follow the link to find out more information about cough remedies
- Nasal sprays can help clear a blocked nose. However, many conventional treatments can only be used for a short time as rebound congestion is likely to occur if used for longer than a week.
A number of natural, herbal remedies are available to help treat colds:
- Echinacea is popular in helping the body build up immunity and helps the body fight the symptoms of a cold.
- There is a variety of herbal cough syrups such as those which include extracts of fresh spruce for dry tickly coughs, and herbal combinations such as those containing ivy and thyme for chesty coughs.
- Herbal nasal sprays have an advantage over conventional nasal sprays, as the body is less likely to be affected by rebound congestion. For instance, products such as A.Vogel Sinuforce Nasal Spray for blocked nose containing peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil can be used continuously for up to 30 days.
Many home remedies have been described and some of these may have been around since before your grandmother:
- Drink plenty of water – water will prevent you from becoming dehydrated. The average adult needs around 1.5 litres a day. Water can also help to thin mucus, helping your congestion
- Chicken soup – the steam from the soup can help clear your nasal passages. It is also nutritious so can help your immune system get up and running again
- Spicy food – garlic and chillies can make your nose stream but this is probably exactly what you want when your nose has been blocked for days
- Hot toddy – this is a hot drink made from whisky, water, sugar and spices. It is intended to help with the symptoms of a cold or flu. However, there has recently been some controversy regarding this old treatment as too much alcohol can lead to dehydration