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Common cold remedies that actually work

July 14, 2022 4 min read

Common cold remedies that actually work

Snotty noses, dry coughs, headaches, sneezes, nasal congestion, and muscle aches. Being sick is definitely not fun at all! What makes it even worse is knowing that statistically, there is a high chance of you being in this exact, same position (or for a better word, misery) again in this same calendar year. Most average, healthy adults have between two to three common colds every single year. There are a million reasons why having a common cold is not ideal, but are there any remedies that actually work? But first, let’s dig a little deeper into the not-so-wonderful world of common colds.

What actually is a common cold?

A virus is a minuscule and transmittable agent that causes an illness. The most common virus that causes a cold is the rhinovirus. Although the rhinovirus is responsible for more than 50% of common cold cases, there are over 200 other, different types that could also be the culprit.

So how do you get the virus in the first place?

When a sick person coughs, sneezes, or speaks, the virus can spread by airborne droplets. Additionally, it can be transferred by direct hand-to-hand contact with a sick person or by exchanging infected items such as drink bottles or dining utensils. You run the risk of contracting a cold if you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth after this kind of contact.

There is a vaccine… right?

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for the common cold; but there are different ways to decrease the speed of its spread. Some of the methods to prevent the transmission of this illness include frequent hand washing, cough concealment, avoiding contact with sick individuals, and not sharing objects. Some remedies can help prevent the severity of symptoms.

What is some common cold treatment that works?

Stay hydrated.

First things first, you need to stay hydrated. When you have a common cold you often suffer from a high fever which can result in dehydration. The excessive sweating that usually comes with a cold means that crucial water is released through the glands and if you are losing more fluid than you are replacing, dehydration can occur. You need to make sure you are replacing all the fluid that is lost by increasing the amount of water you are consuming or by having a VPA® Electrolyte Drink.


Your body is working in overdrive trying to fight off the virus. Your body will be better able to fight off your sickness and build up its immune system if you try and get more sleep than you normally would. Plus, seeing as your energy levels have most likely dropped, the extra sleep would be very enticing. To assist your body fight off the virus once you have a cold, you must get enough sleep. Take the first three days very slowly.


When your voice resembles a croaky frog or your coughing starts to sound like the neighbourhood dog, it might be time to give some gargling a go. Gargling might temporarily soothe a sore throat by moistening it. Aim for four times per day, gargle with 1 cup of warm water and a half teaspoon of salt.

Try a nasal saline spray

Saline nasal sprays contain a mixture of salt and water that is sprayed into your nose to help moisten the mucous membranes and thin out thick mucus. This makes it easier for you to clear the mucus from your nose, which helps reduce congestion.


Saline sprays can also be used as a preventive measure against colds by helping thin out mucus in the upper respiratory tract before it becomes sticky and thick with virus particles.

Steam Inhalation

Steam inhalation can help relieve congestion by loosening mucus in the nasal cavity. It works by opening up nasal passages so that air can flow freely through them. This reduces the feeling of stuffiness and helps clear away mucus from the nose, throat, and sinuses.


The moist heat produced by steam inhalation also relaxes muscles in the chest, which helps to open up the airways for easy breathing.


Heat also stimulates blood flow in the body which improves circulation throughout your body including your lungs. This means that your immune system is better able to fight off viruses that cause colds and allergies such as pollen or dust mites.

Cough Drops

Cough drops work by adhering to the back of your throat and coating it with a protective layer that helps prevent irritation. Since they're sweet, they also help to relieve sore throats by stimulating saliva production.


Cough drops can help ease symptoms in mild cases of dry mouth or sore throat but aren't recommended for severe cases. If you're suffering from severe pain or swelling in your throat area due to tonsillitis or laryngitis, consult your doctor before using cough drops.

The bottom line:

There isn’t a magic pill or a shake that you can take to eliminate the common cold. But there are ways you can reduce the speed of transmission including frequent hand washing, cough concealment, avoiding contact with sick individuals, and not sharing objects. To help with the severity of your cold then it is important to stay hydrated, rest and even try gargling.  

Megan Jolly

Megan Jolly is a university qualified Nutritionist (MNutr) and secondary school teacher. She enjoys keeping fit whilst playing netball, F45 and yoga. Megan has a passion for travelling overseas and experiencing new cultures. She is also very passionate about her French Bulldog Chilli.

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