You can readily manage common cold at home. In most cases, the individual will start to feel better within 7-10 days. This respiratory condition is quite common during the cold season.
The following measures can greatly help in managing common cold:
- Provide the individual with plenty of fluids to drink to replace those lost from sweating and having a runny nose
- Encourage the individual to get plenty of rest
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in fat and high in fiber including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits
Take note that the individual might lose appetite while having a cold. This is normal and must only last for a few days. Do not force the individual to eat if he/she does not feel hungry. You can also try to provide some medications and remedies to relieve the symptoms.
Over-the-counter medications for common cold
- Pain medications such as ibuprofen and paracetamol can help relieve aches and high temperature or fever
- Cold medications that contain a combination of pain medications and decongestants
- Decongestants work by relieving a stuffed or blocked nose
It is important to note that these medications are readily available in pharmacies without requiring a prescription. They are generally safe to use for older children and adults, but not suitable for infants, young children, pregnant women, those who have underlying health issues and those using other medications.
Ibuprofen and paracetamol work by reducing fever and also as painkillers. Aspirin can also be used but not recommended for common cold and must not be given to children below 16 years old.
If a child has a cold, only use an age-appropriate variant of ibuprofen and paracetamol. Carefully follow the instructions on the packaging to ensure that the right dosage is given.
Ibuprofen and paracetamol are also included in some cold medications. If the individual is using painkillers and wants to use a cold medication, check the packaging first or consult a doctor for advice in order to avoid going beyond the recommended dosage.
Decongestants can be taken orally, as drops or as a nasal spray. These medications work by facilitating easier breathing by reducing the swelling within the nose. On the other hand, they are only effective for a short time and can even worsen a blocked nose if used for more than a week.
Take note that decongestants are not suitable for children below 6 years old. Children below 12 years old must not use them unless prescribed by the doctor. In addition, those who have underlying health conditions and using other medications must not use them.
Other remedies for common cold
- Vapor rubs can help infants and young children breathe easily if they have common cold. Apply only on the chest and back. Avoid applying on the nostrils since this can lead to irritation and breathing issues.
- Gargling and menthol sweets can relieve a blocked nose and a sore throat.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements such as zinc can be taken within the day of the start of the symptoms to hasten the recovery as well as reduce the severity of the symptoms.
- Nasal saline drops can alleviate a clogged nose in infants and young children.