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Home Remedies for Colds

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    Cold Remedy #10: Apply hot packs around your congested sinuses. You can buy reusable hot packs at a drugstore. Or make your own. Take a damp washcloth and heat it for 30 seconds in a microwave. (Test the temperature first to make sure it's right for you.)

    Cold Remedy #11: Sleep with an extra pillow under your head. This will help relieve congested nasal passages. If the angle is too awkward, try placing the pillows between the mattress and the box springs to create a more gradual slope.

    Cold Remedy #12: Learn the truth about natural remedies like zinc, echinacea, and vitamin C. People looking for natural cold remedies often turn to supplements. Many of these remedies have not been shown to help and some can hurt.

    Zinc: The latest research seems to show that zinc, if taken early, may decrease the duration of a cold for some people. But according to the Food and Drug Administration, zinc nasal spray can cause permanent loss of smell. Zinc may also play a role in the prevention of colds altogether when taken long-term. More research is needed before zinc can be recommended to help prevent of treat the common cold.

    For in-depth information, see WebMD’s article on Zinc for Colds: Lozenges & Nasal Sprays.

    Echinacea: While echinacea was once a very popular cold remedy, the latest science indicates that it does not appear to prevent colds and is not an effective treatment. Researchers are continuing to study echinacea’s effects on respiratory infections to determine if there is some benefit. People with asthma may make their asthma worse with medications like Echinacea.

    For in-depth information, see WebMD’s article on Echinacea for the Common Cold.

    Vitamin C: What about vitamin C? In a recent review of prior studies, researchers found limited evidence that vitamin C prevented or treated colds.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on December 18, 2014
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