Medically the review by Debra rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — composed by Christine Case-Lo — updated on in march 6, 2017


Whether it’s old wives’ tales or misunderstood science, there room plenty the myths out there about how come treat or avoid the common cold.

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The problem? plenty of of those jewel of wisdom have the right to actually do you sicker. Let’s different the an excellent advice from the tips that just might prolong your misery. What really works to help you acquire through a cold, and which advice have to you avoid?

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A hot toddy is simply the point to eliminate the sniffles.” True or false?


That warm toddy (whiskey, lemon, and hot water) is no going to remove your cold. Hand sanitizers v alcohol may help destroy the cold virus ~ above hands, but drinking alcohol doesn’t execute the same. Alcohol dehydrates you. That dries her mucous membranes, causes discomfort, and also makes the harder to fight the virus. A shot of alcohol can burn away a coating in your throat, yet the resulting dehydration makes your cold last longer.

A better option: Drink many of fluids choose water, orange juice, or mint tea. Keeping yourself hydrated will assist you feel better. Good hydration helps clear congestion. As soon as you’re sick, make sure you gain eight cups of water a day. A far better hydrated body helps the immune system stop the cold symptoms.

“Zinc have the right to shorten the length of a cold.” True or false?

True, however use caution.

It’s recommended the you take zinc through mouth. Studies have shown that acquisition zinc supplements at the first signs that a cold deserve to actually shorten the expression of symptom by around a day and also a fifty percent in adults. There may additionally be some benefits to acquisition zinc regularly.

However, there can be nasty side effects to acquisition zinc supplements. Zinc have the right to leave a negative taste in your mouth and also cause nausea. No helpful effects room seen in children, therefore it’s not valuable for them.

“If you nothing treat the symptoms, her body will fight the cold faster.” True or false?


Some civilization advocate enduring through a runny nose, muscle aches, ill throat, and fever without taking any type of medications. However, this does no shorten a cold. The cold virus is replicating within of her cells, and the rubber of a runny nose is no flushing that out. Rather, it just spreads the virus to other people.

A better option: Treat your symptoms and also rest. Anti-inflammatory medications can aid you gain some rest and even protect against the spread out of your cold to others. Take ibuprofen because that fever and also body aches, antihistamines for a runny nose, and a cough suppressant for a cough.

“Take a ton of vitamin C. That will cure anything!” True or false?

Somewhere in between.

Vitamin C has actually been said to fight whatever from the usual cold come cancer. After ~ falling out of scientific fashion for years, more recent research seems to show that vitamin C has tiny effect in staying clear of the onset of a cold or to reduce its symptoms. The same study uncovered that vitamin C may be beneficial, though, if you an athlete exposed to really cold temperatures.

A word of caution: large doses the vitamin C may cause diarrhea. For world with iron-related conditions, vitamin C may boost the absorb of iron and also cause iron toxicity.

“Over-the-counter cold medications are perfectly safe to take with various other meds.” True or false?


Drug interactions have the right to occur also with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. If you take it a decongestant that includes drugs prefer pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, or oxymetazoline in a tablet, liquid, or sleep spray, there deserve to be some significant side effects. OTC drugs can cause severe interaction if you room on particular antidepressants, too. And also according to the mayo Clinic, anyone v high blood push should also be careful of decongestants.

A much better option: check the warning brand on cold medications, especially combination medications. If you take other medicines regularly or have actually other health and wellness conditions, be certain to asking the pharmacist or your doctor about possible interactions.

“I swear by Echinacea. It can eliminate my cold every time!” True or false?

Likely true.

Some research shows no advantage at all. However, a larger evaluation of studies has shown that extracts of the Echinacea purpura plant can reduce the length of a cold by about 1.4 days.

Still, some human being with allergies to plants like ragweed have shown strong allergic reactions to Echinacea. Also, part preparations might be contaminated v molds and also other allergens. It’s necessary to be cautious taking natural supplements, especially if you have known allergy to pollen and also weeds. Herbs room not regulated by governmental health agencies, therefore buy indigenous a trustworthy source.

“Grandma’s chicken soup is a cure-all for any cold.” True or false?


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Many societies swear by the curative strength of chicken soup, and also it looks favor this legend is true. A study from 2000 shows that chicken soup may have anti-inflammatory nature that assist ease cold symptoms. Besides, warmth liquids and protein will certainly aid you remain hydrated. The warm of warm soup will loosen congestion, together well.

But watch out. Many canned chicken soups are loaded v sodium. Foods with a high salt content can actually dehydrate you, do you feel worse once you’re fighting a cold. Shot low-salt brands or have actually someone kind make you part homemade broth.

The best tips for getting over her cold space to drink lot of of fluids and get many of rest.

Water, juice, clean broth, and also warm water v lemon and also honey can really help loosen congestion. Tea is fine, however the decaffeinated kinds are best.A saltwater gargle can assist ease a sick throat much better than a most medications.Saline drops deserve to reduce stuffiness and congestion there is no the side results of decongestants.Humidity helps. Take it a steamy shower or use a well-cleaned humidifier in little doses.

Medically the review by Debra increased Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — created by Christine Case-Lo — to update on in march 6, 2017