5 simple and safe home remedies for colds

Dec 28, 2023, 7:19 PM | Updated: 7:22 pm

We’ve all experienced it — you wake up with a stuffy nose or feel that tickle in your throat.

Coughs and sore throats are common this time of year, but you don’t have to suffer. Specialists say there are simple and safe ways to get relief.

“There’s plenty of options for over-the-counter medications as well as things that you have probably around your house,” said Brigid O’Donnell, a family medicine nurse practitioner at Intermountain Cottonwood Clinic.

She offers five science-backed home remedies.

1 – Honey

O’Donnell said she could try warm tea with honey, lemon, or ginger.

“Honey actually has some anti-microbial properties to it, which can help to soothe sore throat in general,” O’Donnell said.

But don’t give honey to infants under one year old.

2 – Saltwater gargle

Gargling with warm salt water can help ease a sore throat and thin mucus.

3 – Saline rinse or neti pot

“Nasal saline irrigations can flood things out of the nose as well and get you some really good symptom relief pretty quickly,” O’Donnell said.

It’s important to only use distilled, sterile, or boiled water in order to avoid infections. Tap water isn’t safe for nasal rinses because it’s not properly filtered.

4 – Steam

If you’re feeling under the weather, O’Donnell recommends having a hot shower and running a humidifier.

“Having some of that moisture up into the nasal passages would help,” she said.

5 – Menthol

This compound can be found in rubs or cough drops.

“Menthol is a good one,” O’Donnell said. “It helps to soothe the throat and also has some numbing properties to it if you have a sore throat.”

O’Donnell said she’s heard of people trying various other remedies, but not all are necessarily safe. If you have concerns, check with your doctor.

She recommends closely monitoring your symptoms. If you have a sore throat but not a cough, it could potentially be strep throat, which is treated with antibiotics.

Typically, the common cold lasts a few days up to a week, but O’Donnell says if your symptoms aren’t going away or are getting worse, then it’s time to see a provider.

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5 simple and safe home remedies for colds