Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

Treating Cold and Flu: Your Shopping List



Although more research is needed, studies have shown that vitamin C, echinacea, and zinc lozenges may help shorten the duration of cold symptoms. Tell your doctor about any vitamins or supplements you take, and always ask your doctor before giving a supplement to a child.


To check for fever, use a rectal thermometer to check an infant or toddler's temperature.

Other items to have on hand:

  • Cool mist vaporizer or humidifier. These may help relieve coughing and congestion. Change the water frequently to avoid mold and bacteria in the water.
  • Bottles of throat spray. Throat sprays that contain a local anesthetic numb a sore throat to relieve pain. Ask your doctor before giving to a child under age 3.
  • Jar of mentholated rub. Dab some under (not in) your nose to relieve skin irritated from wiping and blowing your nose. The menthol vapors may also relieve nose congestion.
  • Box of nasal strips (10-12 strips). These may help relieve congestion in your nose by opening up your nasal passages.

From the Grocery

Warm liquids

Warm liquids like tea and soup may soothe a sore throat and help relieve congestion. Black tea and green tea have disease-fighting antioxidants. Decaffeinated herbal tea can be soothing and hydrating.


Be sure to throw away a tissue after wiping your nose. Used tissues can spread the cold virus to whatever they touch.


Disinfectants can help clean surfaces like door handles, keyboards, and light switches of cold germs. When you can't wash your hands, gel sanitizers or alcohol-based wipes with 60%-90% alcohol get rid of germs.

Other items to have on hand:

  • Honey. Honey in warm water or tea can help relieve a cough or sore throat. Don't give honey to a child under age 1.
  • Citrus fruits and juices (oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes). It's not clear whether these fruits -- rich in vitamin C -- will help prevent or treat a cold. But they are loaded with antioxidants that are good for your overall health.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on September 03, 2014
1 | 2

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
woman in bathtub
bp app on smartwatch and phone
estrogen gene

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
hot water bottle on stomach
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror