There is currently no cure for the common cold, but you may be able to shorten the length of your illness by experimenting with some promising supplements and practising good self-care.
If you walk down the aisles of any drugstore, you’ll notice an impressive array of products claiming to reduce the duration of your cold. Few of them are supported by scientific evidence. Here is a list of cold remedies that have been shown to reduce the duration of colds:
- C Vitamin
A vitamin C supplement is unlikely to keep a cold at bay. However, research indicates that it may shorten the duration of colds. According to a 2013 study, regular supplementation (1 to 2 grammes daily) reduced the duration of a cold by 8% in adults and 14% in children. It also reduced the overall severity of colds.
The daily vitamin C recommendation for men is 90 milligrammes and 75 milligrammes for non-pregnant women. Doses above the upper limit (2000 mg) can cause side effects, so taking higher doses for any length of time carries this risk.
Here’s the catch: Don’t wait until the symptoms appear: Every day, take the recommended dosage. Taking vitamin C when you first get a cold may have little effect on how you feel or how long the cold lasts.
Close to three decades of research on colds and zinc have yielded conflicting results, but a 2017 review of studies concluded that zinc lozenges may help you recover faster from a cold than you would without them. Cold duration was reduced by 33% on average, which could mean at least a couple days of relief sooner.
It’s worth noting that the dosages used in these studies, ranging from 80 to 92 mg per day, are significantly higher than the National Institutes of Health’s daily maximum. However, the 2017 review points out that in certain conditions, doses of up to 150 mg of zinc per day are routinely taken for months with few side effects.
Consult your doctor before taking zinc if you are taking antibiotics, penicillamine (Cuprimine) for arthritis, or certain diuretics. The combination could make your medications or zinc less effective.
According to reviews of studies published in 2014 and 2018, taking echinacea may help prevent or shorten the duration of a cold. The purple coneflower herbal supplement is available in tablet form, tea form, and extract form.
In a 2012 study that found echinacea to be beneficial for colds, participants took 2400 mg daily for four months. Some echinacea users report unpleasant side effects such as nausea and diarrhoea. Before using echinacea, consult your doctor to ensure it won’t interfere with any other medications or supplements you’re taking.
Syrup made from black elderberries
- Syrup made from black elderberries
Many parts of the world use black elderberry as a traditional cold remedy. Although research is limited, one older study found that elderberry syrup cut the length of colds in people with flu-like symptoms by four days on average.
A more recent placebo-controlled, double-blind study of 312 plane passengers in 2016 found that those who took elderberry supplements experienced a significant reduction in cold duration and severity when compared to those who took a placebo.
Cooked and concentrated elderberry syrup. It should not be confused with raw elderberries, seeds, or bark, which are toxic.
5 Beet juice
A 2019 study followed 76 students who were at risk of getting sick with a cold during a stressful final exam period. Those who consumed a small amount of beetroot juice seven times a day experienced fewer cold symptoms than those who did not. The remedy was especially beneficial for students with asthma in the study.
Because beetroot juice contains a high concentration of dietary nitrate, it stimulates the production of nitric oxide in the body, which can help protect you from respiratory infections.
If you are prone to kidney stones, avoid beetroot because it contains oxalates. These have been linked to the formation of kidney stones.
Although research on probiotics and colds is limited, one study suggests that drinking a probiotic drink containing Lactobacillus casei 431 can shorten the duration of a cold, particularly respiratory symptoms.
Probiotic bacteria differ from one another, so read the label to determine which one you’re purchasing.
When you have a cold, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you rest more.
While it may be tempting to try to strengthen your immune system by exercising, it is probably best to rest for a few days. In fact, not getting enough sleep on a daily basis may make you more susceptible to colds.
If your child is having trouble sleeping to fight a cold, try honey, which is one of the most commonly used cold remedies. According to a 2012 study, a spoonful of honey before bed can help children sleep better and reduce nighttime coughing. It can also be used to relieve sore throats.
9th. OTC medications
Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, sore throat, and headache caused by a cold can make it difficult to function during the day and sleep at night.
Decongestants, pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, cough suppressants, and antihistamines can help you feel better faster, even if the viral infection is still present. Before giving your child any over-the-counter medicine, consult with a paediatrician.
A lot of liquids
10. A lot of liquids
When trying to get rid of a cold, it’s always a good idea to drink plenty of fluids. If you have a fever, drink hot tea, water, chicken soup, or other liquids to stay hydrated. They can also help you breathe easier by loosening congestion in your chest and nasal passages.
Caffeine and alcohol, on the other hand, can dehydrate you and disrupt the sleep and rest you require for recovery.
WHEN SHOULD I VISIT THE DOCTOR?
Colds that do not clear up quickly can cause pneumonia, lung infections, ear infections, and sinus infections. Consult a doctor if:
- your symptoms persist for more than ten days
- you have a temperature of more than 101.3°F (38.5°C)
- Your sinuses ache as you begin vomiting violently.
- Your cough turns into a wheeze.
- you are experiencing chest pain and difficulty breathing
- The bottom line
- Most of us want to get rid of the sniffles, sneezing, and other symptoms of a cold as soon as possible.
If you take vitamin C on a regular basis, your cold symptoms may go away sooner. And there is some scientific evidence to support using remedies such as zinc, echinacea, elderberry preparations, beetroot juice, and probiotic drinks to prevent or shorten the duration of a cold.
Rest, drink plenty of fluids, and treat the symptoms with medicines that relieve pain, coughing, and congestion are the best ways to beat a cold fast.