The Fastest Way to Get Over a Cold
Treating a cold at home can be a tricky process. Everyone is so desperate to feel better that they’ll try any combination of home remedies and over-the-counter medications. It’s important to keep in mind that you cannot cure your cold right away, but you can manage the symptoms so that you can feel better while the cold runs its course.5
Below are some tips to help you manage your symptoms so that you can go about your business while you get over your cold:
1. Stay hydrated
While it may not be possible to simply get over a cold quickly, you can help yourself feel better by staying hydrated. When you’re sick, your body is typically expelling more fluids, and most colds take place during cooler months when the air is drier.5 Liquids are essential for preventing dehydration, especially during the winter, so drink plenty of water, fruit juices and clear broths throughout the day. Tea with lemon and honey can keep you hydrated and soothe a sore throat.5 Just make sure to stay away from alcohol, coffee and any caffeinated sodas as they can make dehydration worse.
When you’re fighting a cold and feeling under the weather, it’s important to take some time out and simply rest. Your immune system is busy working to fight off the infection, so your body needs time to restore and heal. That’s why it’s key to get as much sleep as possible. Embrace naps, turn in early and catch as many z’s as you can. If your symptoms are mild and you feel up to it, feel free to exercise, just know that your tolerance for physical activity may be lessened.5 If your symptoms are more severe, or if you have underlying health conditions, take it easy and allow your immune system to recharge.5
3. Gargle salt water
Although salt water won’t cure your sore throat or get rid of a cold fast, it is a quick way to ease the pain your sore throat is causing. When you gargle with salt water, the salt draws water out of the tissues in your throat to soothe inflammation while loosening any built-up mucus.5 Add no more than ½ teaspoon of salt per 8-ounces of water to get a temporary relief from your sore throat.2
4. Eat a balanced diet
The types of foods you eat can provide nutrients to help support your immune system. Making sure you’re getting enough vitamins A, C, and E, along with enough zinc and protein might help strengthen your immune system. These nutrients help your body function by working as antioxidants to protect your healthy cells and by producing antibodies that support your immune cells.4 It's important to remember that taking Vitamin C and zinc is not the fastest way to get over a cold, but they are essential nutrients for a healthy diet, and taking care of your body when you’re under the weather can help you to manage your symptoms.5
5. Take over-the-counter medications
Look for over-the-counter medications, like Theraflu, that have active ingredients to ease different cold symptoms. Some of the ingredients you want to quickly relieve your symptoms are:
- Acetaminophen changes the way your body perceives pain. It also lowers your fever.3
- Phenylephrine is a nasal decongestant that causes vasoconstriction, which leads to decreased swelling and increased drainage of the sinus cavities.3
- Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that helps in relieving sneezing and runny nose, which can help some people find relief from symptoms.3
- Dextromethorphan relieves coughing by reducing activity in the part of the brain that’s responsible for it.3
6. Feel better with Theraflu
While there is no immediate cure for a cold, over-the-counter cold and flu medicines like Theraflu can help ease your most severe symptoms and get you back on your feet. Theraflu makes products that include active ingredients to help you feel better quickly. There are medicines for daytime relief, nighttime relief and ExpressMax for when you’re looking for symptom relief with a warming sensation. And with powerful symptom relief, especially at night, you’ll be able to rest as you recover—and get relief from your cold symptoms, fast.
- Vorvick, L. J., MD. (2015, January 31). Common Cold. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000678.htm
- Cold Remedies. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/cold-remedies/art-20046403. Accessed 5/26/21.
- The Common Cold and the Flu. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/13756--colds-and-flu-symptoms-treatment-prevention-when-to-call. Accessed 5/26/21.
- Immune Boosters. UC Davis Health. https://health.ucdavis.edu/blog/good-food/5-immune-boosters-to-help-keep-you-healthy-amid-covid-19-outbreak/2020/01. Accessed 5/26/21.
- How to Get Rid of a Cold. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-get-rid-of-a-cold/. Accessed 9/12/22.