A cold usually lasts 10 days or longer. There are no cures for a cold, but treatments can relieve your symptoms. These include:
To relieve aches, pains, and fever consider non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Prescription antiviral medication is usually not necessary.
Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. This is because of the risk of Reye syndrome. Ask your doctor which other medications are safe for your child.
Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.
Cough and cold medications include:
- Throat lozenges
- Vapor rub
Cough and cold medications should not be used in children under 2 years old, and they are not recommended in children under 4 years old. The US Food and Drug Administration has not completed its review regarding the safety of over-the-counter cough and cold medications in children ages 2-11 years. Rare, but serious side effects have been reported.
Decongestant pills or nasal sprays can shrink nasal passages. They also decrease mucus production. Nasal sprays should only be used for 2-3 days. Longer use can lead to increased congestion when you stop using the product.
Many people use alternative treatments to relieve their cold symptoms. Some of the more popular choices include:
—Taking extra vitamin C at the start of a cold has not been shown to be of any benefit. Some believe that taking vitamin C throughout the cold season may help reduce symptoms or shorten how long the cold lasts.
lozenges—Taking zinc lozenges at the start of a cold may help shorten the length of the cold.
—Echinacea might help people to recover faster from a cold. But, there is little evidence that it can prevent colds if taken in advance.
—While honey has not been shown to affect the severity or length of a common cold, it may improve nighttime cough and sleep disruption in children. Do not give honey to infants younger than 12 months because of the risk of
Some supplements and herbal treatments may not be pure. Many can also interact with prescription medications and over-the-counter products. Talk to your doctor before using any of these products.