Cold Remedy 4: Breathe in Some Steam
Sitting in the bathroom and running a hot shower can help. The warm moisture can get into the airways and loosen up mucus. Applying a warm compress over your nose and mouth might achieve the same effect.
Cold Remedy 5: Soothe Your Nose
With a bad cold often comes a miserable chapped nose. What can you do? First, make sure that you have some reasonably soft tissues, so you're not using anything too abrasive against your skin.
Second, dab some petroleum jelly on and under your nose. It will help both soothe irritated skin and prevent it from getting worse.
Cold Remedy 6: Gargle
If one of your cold symptoms is a sore throat, try gargling with salt water. A salt water gargle can help relieve your pain and that uncomfortable scratchy throat feeling -- for a little while at least.
Cold Remedy 7: Get Some Rest
A lot of people have trouble slowing down when they get sick. They feel self-indulgent if they opt out of work and spend the day lying on the couch watching movies while under a blanket. But really, it's what you ought to do.
"When you have a really bad cold that's causing a fever and making you feel really crummy, rest is really important," says Edelman. "It will help you heal."
With a more run-of-the-mill cold that causes minor cold symptoms, rest is less of a medical necessity, Edelman says. But you're still perfectly justified in taking it easy.
"In that case, the most important reason to stay home from work is to prevent you from spreading the cold to your co-workers," he says. "That's a nice thing to do."
Cold Remedy 8: Get Some Help
If you're usually the one running the household, now is the time to give yourself a break and call in some favors. Ask a friend to bring over dinner. See if your spouse can pack the kids' lunch boxes for a few days. When you're sick with cold symptoms, trying to do everything you normally do will just run you ragged -- and that could just prolong your illness.
Cold Remedy 9: Consider Medicine
Again, no medicine will speed your recovery from a cold. But some over-the-counter drugs, like decongestants, could ease your cold symptoms a bit and make you more comfortable, Edelman says. Painkillers like acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen can help with fever and body ache. Always follow the dosing instructions on the label.
Avoid taking medicines for symptoms you don’t have. Look at the label on the bottle to match your symptoms to the medicine that makes sense for you.
When your kids are suffering a cold, over-the-counter medicines can help relieve the symptoms. Remember to read and follow the labels carefully. Make sure to give your child no more than the recommended dose. And make sure not to use more than one cold and flu medicine with the same ingredient. If your child is under 4, do not use cold medicine. You should talk to your doctor to find out how best to relieve symptoms. Never give medicines with aspirin to children due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome.