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How to Treat Cold and Flu Symptoms Using Over the Counter and At-Home Remedies

Suffering from a cold? Utilize these OTC and at-home remedies to ease your symptoms.

With the abundance of information at our fingertips, looking for information on how to treat your cold and flu symptoms can feel overwhelming. There are a wide variety of over-the-counter cold and flu medicines – including caplets, syrup and hot liquid powders – as well as at-home remedies – including getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, adding a humidifier to your space, or trying a salt water gargle – which can all help give you relief from your cold and flu symptoms.

Get to know each flu relief and cold treatment and see which works best for you, so you can recover from cold and flu symptoms faster.

Available Cold and Flu Treatments – OTC Remedies

Caplets – An easy-to-swallow tablet.

Syrup – A liquid taken using a dosing cup.

Hot Liquid Powder – A powder mixed into hot water to drink.

Antivirals – Use prescribed medications to treat the flu virus. 

Available Cold and Flu Treatments – Home Remedies

Sleep and Rest – Rest is essential for recovering from your cold and flu symptoms! Try to spend ample time in bed or lying down.

Staying Hydrated – Remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, and avoid fluids that can further dehydrate your body.1

Warm, Moist Air – Keep your body warm and maintain good air humidity levels. 

Salt Water Gargling – Use salt water to help ease a sore throat. We recommend gargling with a tall glass of water mixed with ¼ to ½ a teaspoon of table salt.7

Meditation – Managing your stress might help shorten the duration of your cold or flu, and even help prevent you from getting sick in the first place. Meditation is a great way to manage the stressors of daily life and to give your immune system a boost.2

A woman is lying on her side in bed asleep

Rest is essential for recovering from your cold and flu symptoms! Try to spend ample time in bed or lying down.


Caplets are smooth-coated pills that can be swallowed with water. Cold and flu caplets often contain different ingredients depending on whether they are intended to be taken during the day or the night, so they don’t affect your sleep.1

Theraflu ExpressMax Caplets have a specially formulated coating that provides an instant warming sensation, signalling that relief is on the way.

Like many cold and flu caplets, Theraflu ExpressMax offers relief from nasal congestion, cough, body aches, sore throat, fever, headache and chest congestion.

Learn about Theraflu caplets



Syrup is a liquid form of cold and flu medicine that is consumed in a measured dosing cup. If you prefer to take your medicine in liquid form, syrup is your best choice. Children often prefer taking medicine in this form to avoid swallowing tablets.i Always check the label for age appropriate dosing before giving your child cold and flu syrup.

Theraflu ExpressMax Severe Cold & Flu Syrup delivers powerful relief from cold and flu symptoms – including nasal congestion, cough, body aches, sore throat, fever, headache and chest congestion.

Learn about Theraflu syrups


Hot Liquid Powder

Drinking plenty of fluids is one of the best things you can do to help yourself get better quickly. Drinking lots of water, juice, clear broth or tea will help prevent dehydration and loosen congestion.3,4 The good news is that using a hot liquid powder will encourage fluid intake, which will help keep you hydrated while you recover.

Try Theraflu Multi-Symptom Severe Cold Hot Liquid Powder to help battle your cold and flu symptoms in one power-packed beverage. Simply dissolve the contents of one packet into a cup of hot water and sip while hot. Use every four hours while symptoms persist. Do not take more than six packets in 24 hours unless directed by a doctor.

See Theraflu Hot Liquid Powder


Sleep and Rest

Cold and flu relief is aided by rest, so while using cold and flu medicine, be careful not to overexert yourself. With lots of rest and sleep, your body can direct more of its energy into fighting the cold or flu virus and healing itself.3,4 The optimal amount of sleep for adults is between seven to eight hours of sleep per night, while teenagers and children might require even more rest: around nine to ten hours per night. Sleep also helps prevent illness in the first place by strengthening your immune system.1

Helps treat: All symptoms.



It’s important to stay hydrated when treating cold and flu symptoms. Sipping water, herbal teas, juice, warm water with honey and lemon, or broth helps to relieve a sore throat, loosen congestion and prevent dehydration.3,4 Try to avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol as these can exacerbate your symptoms.7

Helps treat: All symptoms – but particularly helps to relieve dehydration, a sore throat and dry mouth.

Sipping water, herbal teas, juice, warm water with honey and lemon, or broth helps to relieve a sore throat, loosen congestion and prevent dehydration.

Hands are resting on a table holding a glass mug with a lemon slice in it. Other lemon slices sit on a plate off to the side with a tissue box.

Warm, Moist Air

Using a humidifier can help loosen congestion, keep your nasal passages and airways moist, and soothe any irritation caused by dry air. If you don’t have a humidifier, try putting your head over a bowl of hot water and breathing in the steam – or, take a hot shower or bath.3

Helps treat: Aches and pains, itchy throat, stuffed nose.


Salt Water Gargling

Drinking liquids will go a long way to helping soothe a sore or scratchy throat, but gargling with salt water can help alleviate your pain even further. A salt water gargle is one of the easiest and most budget-friendly home remedies available, and can be made using an ingredient found in the average kitchen: table salt. Simply take a ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt and dissolve it in a glass of warm water, then gargle and spit the solution out.3 The salt in the solution should soothe the back of your throat and provide some temporary relief from that pesky itch.7

Helps treat: A sore, itchy throat.



If you’re suffering from a flu, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral. When taken shortly after the onset of flu symptoms, antiviral medication can help shorten your illness and/or lessen the severity of your symptoms. It may also help prevent further complications from the flu that can lead to serious illnesses, such as pneumonia.4,5

Helps treat: Flu symptoms such as high fever, fatigue, aches and pains, persistent cough and



Incorporating meditation into your daily routine could be potentially beneficial in treating and preventing cold and flu symptoms, and it might help ease a multitude of other symptoms caused by other common illnesses such as anxiety and depression, IBS, high-blood pressure, and insomnia. In addition, meditation is considered safe for the average healthy person, so it is suitable for a variety of needs and lifestyles. While there are many different ways to meditate, most practices have four things in common: a quiet location free of distractions, a comfortable posture you can maintain throughout your session, a specific focus for your attention (a mantra, the sensation of your breath, specific imagery, a place on your face or body, etc.), and an open mind and non-judgmental attitude.8 Why not give it a try?

Helps Treat: All symptoms


Cold and Flu Treatments – Next Steps

Many cold and flu symptoms can be treated effectively with over-the-counter Theraflu products. They come in caplets, powders and liquids such as Theraflu ExpressMax Severe Cold & Flu Syrup for fast relief on the go. For a different approach to flu and cold symptom treatment, try Theraflu Multi-Symptom Severe Cold Hot Liquid Powder for a steaming cup of soothing cold and flu symptom relief.

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