Conquer the Common Cold: Symptoms, Treatments, and Prevention Strategies

Common Cold

A common Cold is a viral infection primarily affecting upper respiratory system, it is one of the most common Illness globally. Particularly start during colder month, but it can occur any time of the year. Cold viruses are highly contagious and mostly spread from the droplets when infected person coughs, sneezes or talk, or through touches contaminated surfaces.

Sign and Symptoms of common cold

These are the following sign and symptoms of the common cold typically includes,

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Mild headache
  • Fatigue
  • Mild body aches

These symptoms mostly develop one to three days after exposure to the virus and can last about a week. Although some symptoms can persist longer such as Cough and congestion.

While there is no primarily direct treatment available of common cold. Several over-the-counter (OTC) medications available which can help in alleviating common cold symptoms and make you feel better.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications.


These medications help relieve nasal congestion by shrinking swollen nasal passages, making it easier to breathe.


Antihistamines can help reduce sneezing, itching, and nasal discharge.

Pain relievers

 Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate headache, sore throat, and mild body aches.

Cough suppressants

 Cough suppressants can help reduce coughing, particularly if it is disrupting sleep or daily activities.


 These medications can help loosen mucus and make coughing more productive.

(NOTE It’s essential to read and follow the instructions on medication labels carefully and consult a healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.)

Side Effect of Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications.


  • Side effects may include increased blood pressure, rapid heart rate, nervousness, dizziness, and trouble sleeping.
  • Decongestants should be used with caution in individuals with high blood pressure, heart conditions, or thyroid disorders.


  • Common side effects can include drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, and urinary retention.
  • Some antihistamines may cause dizziness or impair cognitive function, so it’s important to avoid activities that require mental alertness, such as driving or operating machinery, while taking them. Pain Relievers (e.g., Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen)
  • Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if taken in excessive doses. It’s essential to follow the recommended dosage instructions carefully and avoid taking multiple medications containing acetaminophen simultaneously.
  • Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, and kidney damage, especially with long-term or high-dose use. They should be taken with food to minimize stomach irritation and avoided by individuals with a history of ulcers or kidney disease.

Cough Suppressants

  • Common side effects of cough suppressants may include drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, and dry mouth.
  • Cough suppressants containing codeine or dextromethorphan should be used with caution, especially in individuals prone to respiratory depression or those taking other medications that can interact with them.


  • Expectorants may cause gastrointestinal upset, including nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
  • Increasing fluid intake can help prevent dehydration and minimize potential side effects.

While the mentioned side effects are relatively common with the use of over-the-counter (OTC) medications, their occurrence can vary depending on factors such as individual sensitivity, dosage, and duration of use. Some individuals may experience no side effects at all, while others may experience more pronounced effects.

Home Remedies

Like OTC cold remedies, home remedies don’t cure common cold symptoms. they can help make your symptoms less severe and easier to manage.

The most effective and common home remedies for a common cold include

  • Gargling with salt water: A salt water gargle can sooth your throat and ease irritation.
  • Drinking plenty of fluid: Staying well hydrated will help you reduce congestion.
  • Getting Complete Rest: Getting Plenty of rest help your body to save energy to let the virus to run its course.
  • IVY Leaf & Zinc lozenges: Ivy leaves and zinc lozenges reduce the course time of the virus if it taking from the early time.

Common cold treatment for children

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source doesn’t recommend OTC medications for cough and cold symptoms in children younger than 2 year because these medications could cause serious and potentially life threatening side effects. Manufacturers voluntarily label these cough and cold products “Do not use in children under 4 years of age. “

But you can help in easing Common Cold symptoms in children.

  • Rest. Children who have a cold may be more tired and irritable than normal. If possible, let them stay home from school and rest until the cold has cleared.
  • Hydration. It’s very important that children with a cold get plenty of fluids. Colds can dehydrate them quickly. Make sure they’re drinking regularly. Water is great. Warm drinks like tea can pull double duty as a sore throat soother.
  • Food. Kids with a cold may not feel as hungry as usual, so look for ways to give them calories and fluids. Smoothies and soups are two good options.
  • Salt water gargles. Salt water gargles aren’t the most pleasant experience, but gargling with warm, salty water can help soothe sore throats. Saline nasal sprays can also help clear nasal congestion.
  • Warm baths. A warm bath may help ease mild aches and pains that are common with a cold.
  • A cool mist humidifier. A cool mist humidifier can help decrease Trusted Source nasal congestion. Don’t use a warm mist humidifier, as it can cause swelling in the nasal passages, making it more difficult to breathe.
  • Bulb syringe. Nasal suctioning with a bulb syringe works well to clear babies ‘nasal passages. Older children typically resist Bulb Syringe.

Nutritional Choices to Boost Your Immunity During a Cold

When dealing with cold, it’s essential to nourish your body with foods that can help boost your immune system, provide hydration, and soothe symptoms. Here are some common foods that can be beneficial

  1. Chicken Soup Chicken soup is a classic comfort food that can help soothe a sore throat and provide hydration. It also contains nutrients from vegetables and chicken broth that support overall health.
  2. Broths and Clear Soups Like chicken soup, other clear soups and broths can provide hydration and essential nutrients without being too heavy on the stomach. Vegetable broth or miso soup are excellent options.
  3. Herbal Teas Warm herbal teas, such as ginger tea, chamomile tea, or peppermint tea, can help soothe a sore throat and provide hydration. Adding honey to tea can also provide relief for coughing.
  4. Citrus Fruits Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, which can help support the immune system. Consuming these fruits or drinking fresh citrus juices can provide a boost of vitamin C.
  5. Garlic Garlic has antimicrobial properties that may help fight off infections. Adding garlic to soups, stir-fries, or salad dressings can provide both flavor and potential health benefits.
  6. Ginger Ginger has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Drinking ginger tea or adding fresh ginger to soups, smoothies, or stir-fries can help soothe symptoms and support overall health.
  7. Honey Honey has natural antibacterial properties and can help soothe a sore throat. Adding honey to warm herbal teas or consuming it directly may provide relief for coughing and throat irritation.
  8. Protein-Rich Foods Consuming protein-rich foods like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and legumes can help support the immune system and aid in recovery.
  9. Fluids Staying hydrated is essential when you have a cold or mild flu symptoms. Drink plenty of water, herbal teas, clear broths, and fruit juices to stay hydrated and help thin mucus secretions.
  10. Soft Foods If you have a sore throat or difficulty swallowing, opt for soft foods like yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes, or smoothies that are easier on the throat.


In conclusion, navigating through the common cold can be a discomforting experience, but armed with knowledge and the right approach, it can be managed effectively. The common cold, prevalent across all age groups and seasons, presents with a range of symptoms, including a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, and fatigue. While its duration typically spans a week or more, individual responses to the virus may vary.

Fortunately, a multitude of over-the-counter medications and home remedies exist to alleviate symptoms and support the body’s healing process. From decongestants and antihistamines to pain relievers and cough suppressants, these medications can provide relief from discomfort. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of potential side effects and to use them responsibly, following recommended dosage instructions and seeking medical advice if necessary.

In addition to medication, incorporating immune-boosting foods and practices into one’s routine can aid in recovery. Chicken soup, herbal teas, citrus fruits, garlic, and ginger are just a few examples of nourishing options that can help soothe symptoms and support overall health.

Ultimately, while the common cold may be unavoidable at times, taking proactive measures such as maintaining good hygiene, staying hydrated, and getting adequate rest can help reduce its impact and promote a speedier recovery. By treating ourselves with care and kindness during times of illness, we can navigate through the common cold with resilience and grace.

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