Each year, US adults have the common cold 2 to 3 times on average, sometimes more often in children. It is the most common reason adults and children alike miss work or school. Cold symptoms generally last 7 to 10 days, and although there is no cure for the common cold, there are several ways to reduce symptoms. Here are 5 tips for managing your cold symptoms:
Moisten the Air to Calm Your Cough
Soothe your cough by breathing in steam from a hot shower or bowl of hot water. Using a cool mist vaporizer or clean humidifier to moisten the air can also help manage coughs.
Keep Hydrated to Control a Runny Nose
Relieve your runny nose by increasing your intake of fluids, getting plenty of rest, and consider using a decongestant or saline nasal spray.
Relieve Fevers and Pain with NSAIDs
Reduce fevers and ear, throat, or sinus pain with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
Use a Warm Compress for Sinus Pain
Place a warm compress over your nose or forehead to help lessen sinus pain or pressure. Using a decongestant or saline nasal spray can also alleviate sinus-related symptoms.
Soothe Your Sore Throat
Pacify throat aches by consuming warm beverages or gargling with salt water. Other options include sore throat sprays, ice chips, popsicles, or lozenges. Note that lozenges are not suitable for young children.
See a medical provider if your temperature is >100.4°F, lasts >10 days, or if your symptoms are severe or unusual. In addition, be aware of what is safe to give to your child and read labels carefully.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Common colds: protect yourself and others. www.cdc.gov/Features/Rhinoviruses/index.html. Updated February 27, 2015. Accessed July 9, 2015.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptom relief. www.cdc.gov/getsmart/community/for-patients/symptom-relief.html. Updated April 17, 2015. Accessed July 9, 2015.