4 Natural Cold Remedies: Do They Work?
Experts share their views of some popular cold treatments.
Preventing a Cold: Does Anything Really Work? continued...
"We found about 30% or 40% of the sites had virus on them." He's talking
about surfaces such as light switches and TV remote controls. "A third of the
time, the virus was still there," Hendley says of the site samples. "Now we are
trying to figure out, is it still infectious?" The hotel study didn't go there,
but that study is under way.
Until more research is in, Gwaltney suggests hand washing after touching
potentially germy surfaces, rather than adhering to the often-suggested advice
of hand washing throughout the day no matter what you've touched.
Rhinoviruses cause about half of all colds in adults, Hendley says. You
acquire the virus by getting it on your hand and then touching your nose or
eyes, he says. "The virus doesn't usually go through the air," Hendley says.
"You usually get it on the finger and you inoculate yourself. Just being in the
air space [with an infected person or the virus] is not enough."
Besides hand washing, breathing in humidified air and increasing your fluid
intake may also help, Blandino says.
Whatever natural remedy you use, the effects on the cold will be minimal,
cautions Gwaltney. Of natural cold remedies, he says: "They're not as effective
as commercial cold remedies" such as decongestant, antihistamines, and
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Patience could pay off, too, Blandino says. "You can't cure the cold," he
says. "[But] most of them are gone within 10 days."