Cold home remedies – What should you try?

Home cold remediesYou’ve got a runny nose, you’re congested, your head aches, your throat throbs and you just feel wiped out. It might ‘just’ be a cold, but that isn’t helping you get through the day. Colds are viral infections so antibiotics are no help (and may even be harmful). What should you do? What about all those natural remedies on the internet? Do they have any merit?

We asked TMCOne nurse practitioner Natalie Olendorf for her feedback on some of the more common home-remedy suggestions:

Zinc lozenges or nasal spray

Some studies show starting zinc lozenges or syrup in the first 24 hours of cold symptoms can shorten the length of the cold, but don’t use them for longer than 3 days as they can cause nausea when taken for longer. Some people have lost their sense of smell permanently from use of the zinc nasal spray, so it isn’t recommended.

Nasal irrigation and neti pots

Neti pots have reached the mainstream – they and nasal saline sprays may help relieve symptoms such as pressure and drainage as well as shorten the life of the cold by flushing out mucus and viruses. It’s important to make sure that you use sterilized or distilled water.

Hot ginger and lemon tea

Yum! This combination is soothing and can help reduce inflammation in the throat. Go ahead and try it. It won’t cure your cold, but it might bring some relief.

Echinacea

Echinacea can be helpful to relieve symptoms, but no strong evidence exists to show that it makes an impact on the length of the cold.

Vitamin C

Who hasn’t been tempted to dose up with vitamin C after being exposed to a snotty kid? High doses of vitamin C are thought to help support the immune system, but only take these for FEWER THAN FIVE DAYS. High doses of any vitamin can be dangerous and too much vitamin C may cause kidney stones. Also, it won’t prevent the cold, but the illness may last fewer days if your immune system is more robust. Most people get enough vitamin C from a good diet.

Essential oils, aromatherapy

There are very limited studies on the use of essential oils. And while some may help improve congestion and drainage, it is important not to use them topically or to ingest them.

Steam vapor

Steam vapor helps to decrease congestion and open up the sinuses, which can provide relief from that headache.

Elderberry

Elderberry, extract Sambucol, may help decrease the sore throat, headache and fatigue of a cold. Talk to your physician about using elderberry extract as it may interact or impact other medications you are taking.

This information is meant as a guide, but should not be used in place of medical advice from your health care provider.

If you’re in need of a same day appointment check out TMCOne

Natalie Olendorf F.N.P. and familyAbout Natalie Olendorf, F.N.P.

I am a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner. I have worked in family medicine and urgent care for the last 8 years. Prior to joining TMCOne I worked as a nurse in a Children’s Hospital in Chicago on a solid organ transplant unit and as an emergency room nurse in a Level 1 trauma center.

I attended University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana where I received by Bachelor’s in Nursing in 2003 and then attended University of Illinois Chicago where I received my Master’s in Nursing in 2009. Currently, I am working same-day care and the Fast Pass program at the TMCOne Wyatt location.

I am married and have a young son and daughter. I enjoy being active and outdoors with my family in my free time.

 

 

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