There is nothing like waking up at 4 a.m. with eyes watering, a swollen throat, and one functioning nostril. We’ve put together 13 cold remedies to help you feel better faster!
It seems each year the common cold, flu, and viruses get stronger. Each is very different, and in this article, we’ll just break down how to feel better during a cold.
First, living a healthy lifestyle can help you avoid some illnesses, we aren’t immune to everything. Below you’ll find our top tips plus Amazon affiliate links to some of our recommended products.
Cold Remedies to Get Over a Cold Faster
1. Pop a Zinc Supplement
This was suggested to me by my dermatologist of all people.
According to Web MD, zinc taken within 24 hours upon feeling sick reduces the length of your cold by approximately one day. It doesn’t have to be a special brand, just any over-the-counter zinc will do.
You don’t want to take zinc long-term though because it can affect your immunity to future colds.
2. Up your Vitamin C too
Experts have also found vitamin C can help reduce the length of sickness if you take it at the very beginning of a cold. You can take Vitamin C as a supplement, or you can get in the mega-vitamin with foods.
Here is one of my favorite smoothie recipes:
- 10 oz. Orange Juice
- 1 cup Strawberries, frozen
- 1 cup Peaches, frozen
- 1/2 cup Pineapple Chunks, frozen
- Handful of Ice Cubes
- Blend until smooth.
- Add more juice or water for a less-thick smoothie.
3. Get some sleep
This is my favorite of the cold remedies. Your body is having to fight something off and that takes energy!
That lack of energy that comes with a cold is your body telling you to slow down. If you’re willing to take the time to sleep, the faster you’ll be back to your productive self versus hanging onto a bug for weeks.
Try to get a couple of extra hours of sleep each night, squeeze in a nap, and/or take 1 or 2 things off of your To-do list and rest instead.
4. Slurp up some chicken noodle soup
According to CNN, chicken soup contains neutrophils, which stop the release of bacteria stimulated by the cold virus.
The onions, carrots, and celery help to strengthen the immune system while the broth hydrates your body and helps produce nasal clearance. Organic bone broth can also help with a slew of health concerns from inflammation to better skin.
5. Eat the Right Kind of Foods
WebMd has a great list, and I just had to share it with you!
- Bananas: Soothe upset stomachs.
- Bell Peppers: Loaded with vitamin C.
- Blueberries: Curbs diarrhea, high in natural aspirin. (May lower fevers and help with the aches and pains.)
- Carrots: Loaded with beta-carotene.
- Chili Peppers: Can open sinuses, and help break up mucus in the lungs.
- Cranberries: Help prevent bacteria from sticking to cells lining the bladder and urinary tract.
- Mustard & Horseradish: Helps break up mucus in air passages.
- Onion: Has phytochemicals purported to help the body clear bronchitis and other infections.
- Rice: Curbs diarrhea.
- Tea: Black and green tea (not herbals) contain catechin, a phytochemical purported to have natural antibiotic and anti-diarrhea effects.
The one food I avoid is dairy. While studies have shown that dairy doesn’t actually increase phlegm, it may make it thicker and more irritating than before.
6. Drink Plenty of the Right Liquids
Water will help to detox your body, and full fruit juices are full of vitamins to help your body recover from a cold.
Look for juices like orange, cherry, and pineapple for the best results. If you can, it’s best to make your own juices or choose a local juice shop so that you avoid any extra added sugars and to get the best bang out of each serving. However, don’t stress if it’s good ol’ Tropicana for the win either.
You do want to avoid cokes, coffee, and anything with caffeine. They won’t leave you hydrated.
Need something with a little pep?
Stick with green tea–the antioxidants will help balance the dehydrating effects of the caffeine.
7. Use Some Salt
Gargling with Salt Water
It helps ease the pain, break up mucus, and kill bacteria. The Mayo Clinic found gargling with salt water helped to pull fluid from inflamed tissues in the through and loosen mucus which helps remove bacteria and allergens.
Epsom Salt Bath
A warm bath with Epsom salts can act as a natural detox. Some Eastern medicine suggests adding ginger as well, but I like plain Epsom salt.
- For kids under 60 lbs, add 1/2 cup to a standard bath.
- For people over 100 lbs, add 2 cups or more to a standard bath.
The idea is to take a hot bath for about 40 minutes to help release the toxins in the body. You can read more about the idea of a hot salt bath here.
8. ALWAYS blow your nose instead of sniffing
I am SO guilty of this. Who in the world wants to blow their nose when it’s quiet somewhere? But your nose may be running because it is trying to get rid of the junk that made you sick in the first place…get rid of that by blowing your nose!
9. Consider a humidifier
The humidity will help the mucus break up and move out of your system. It can moisturize the nose, throat, and lung passages which can help you feel less congested. You may also find adding a vapor rub to certain humidifiers may help you breathe better.
10. Go to the pharmacy
You may need to a decongestant or a medicine to help ease your cough so you can rest. Some generics are as low as $4 dollars now–so why not?
Keep in mind anything that is a decongestant is kept with the pharmacist now. Even if it says something like Sudafed, the active ingredient isn’t pseudoephedrine like it used to be. You can buy pseudoephedrine products with the help of a pharmacist over-the-counter, though.
11. Adapt your workouts
If it’s a minor cold, working out at a moderate level is okay and may even be good for your immune system, but if you are sick as a dog or have a severe cold, limit your workouts. Here is a post I did just about Working Out While Your Sick
12. Take a Warm Shower
I remember being little and my dad would pound on my back to break up the congestion and make me take a hot shower after to loosen it up even more. While the pounding on the back is totally up to you, I truly believe a hot shower does wonders!
Also, the moist air can act like a moisturizer to the nasal passages while you’re in the shower – helping you to breathe deeper.
Katie at Homespun Hydrangea came up with these amazing Homemade Vapor Rub Shower cubes! They are cheaper than store bought and so simple to make.
You can pop one in with each shower, but they can make the shower slick so be careful.
Did you know?
Also, did you know that you don’t actually catch a cold from the cold weather?
The whole idea of running out with a wet head in the winter leading to a cold is a myth.
The reason colds and viruses spread more in the colder months is because we (human beings) are typically in close quarters during this time of year. So it’s easier for us to catch a cold from shaking someone’s hand, touching an infected doorknob or a sneeze.
Since you are reading this, I assume you are sick….I hope you feel better really soon!
What are your favorite cold remedies to get over a cold faster?
Have you ever tried any of these cold remedies?