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Household Treatments for a Chest and Head Cold

by
author image Richard Nilsen
Richard Nilsen writes poetry, fiction, features and news stories in upstate New York. He was an emergency mental-health consultant for 20 years and directed a mentoring agency for a decade. Nilsen is a black-fly control technician in the Adirondack Park, where he enjoys hiking, biking and boating.
Household Treatments for a Chest and Head Cold
A young girls reclining in bed drinking tea with honey and lemon. Photo Credit pojoslaw/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

More than 200 different viruses can cause the common cold, which makes any “cure” unknown as of 2010. According to the Cleveland Clinic, viral infections in the upper respiratory tract don’t respond to antibiotics. Symptomatic relief is about the only treatment available. Besides over-the-counter antihistamines and cough drops, there are a number of household remedies that will get you through the one or two weeks that the common cold usually lasts.

Fluids

You may have a runny nose, sore throat, cough, sneezing and nasal congestion without a fever or the body aches of flu. Drinking enough fluids can reduce all these symptoms. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) website advises drinking plenty of fluids like tea, juice and hot soup to reduce congestion and restore fluids lost through coughing up phlegm and nursing a runny nose. Warm tea with honey and lemon juice added can be especially soothing to the throat. But avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can cause dehydration, advises the Mayo Clinic. Sucking on ice chips can help reduce throat discomfort.

Salt Water Gargle

Gargle with warm salt water to help soothe your throat. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should gargle with warm, salt water several times a day.

Rest

Time and giving your body a chance to fight off viral infection with plenty of rest are two key aspects of treating a cold. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website states that rest is a key ingredient in recovering from a cold. It is also important to avoid smoking or any other airborne irritants to your throat and nasal passages.

Steam, Compress

Airborne steam can help soothe your upper respiratory tract and introduce humidity, which promotes proper drainage. The CDC website recommends breathing in steaming water vapor from a bowl of hot water, hot shower or home vaporizer for soothing relief of sore throat and nasal passages. A cool-mist humidifier can also help with this process, but the filters and water must be clean to avoid introducing airborne germs that might complicate the infection. A warm, moist compress can help soothe sinus pressure as well.

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