Best Things to Do When You Have a Cold

If you cough and sneeze frequently, suffer from neck congestion and sore throat, you have probably contracted a cold. Symptoms of cold coupled with fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and fatigue indicate flu.

Various articles on how to get rid of a cold are available in medical literature. We’ve made a list of the best things to do when you have a cold, of our own. 

cold-flubest things to do when you have a cold

We have comprehensively evaluated many options for cold management. From that, we’ve selected 7 best and effective ways to manage symptoms of a cold in most patients.

Stay positive

Stay in a positive state of mind during any sickness. Stress worsens the symptoms of cold and flu. Learn to keep stress at bay by practicing mind relaxing techniques like meditation and yoga.

This will help manage the symptoms of cold and improve immunity. A study related to this concluded that meditation and a positive frame of mind improve the function and overall quality of life.


Rest is one of the most important and effective remedies for regulating the symptoms of a cold. Staying at home during sickness also prevents spreading the disease to other people. Stay away from doing non-essential activities and prioritize your tasks.

This is important because your body requires a considerable amount of energy for fighting off the infection. Take adequate sleep at night. Skipping sleep results in poor immunity. If you feel difficulty in sleeping because of nasal congestion, allow yourself to take an extra pillow for raising your head. Doing this will ease sinus pressure.


Your body requires proper hydration during this period. You should drink enough water to keep your body hydrated. Drinking a sufficient quantity of water helps to thin mucus and reduces congestion. Hydration also eases the symptoms such as headaches. Headaches usually develop due to dehydration especially during a fever.

However, not all drinks are meant for hydration. You are advised to stay away from caffeinated drinks, alcohol, soda water, and coffee. These could leave you further drained. Dehydration during cold and flu causes a problem with sleep and delays the overall recovery process.

Hot water & beverages

Gargling with warm salt water a few times daily helps to relieve nasal congestion. Salt also helps in soothing sore throat. Adding lemon juice to warm water for gargling creates an acidic environment that prevents the growth of bacteria and viruses.

Sipping hot beverages such as tea and chicken soup also helps to improve symptoms. Chicken soup has an exceptional property of preventing the aggregation of white blood cells. This results in reduced inflammation and suppression of mucus formation. Adding garlic to chicken soup aids the immune system.

Breathing steam or taking a hot shower also helps reduce nasal congestion. Muscular pain is also alleviated through hot showers.

Over-the-counter medicines

Various over-the-counter medications, claiming to be the best cold medicine, are available to provide rapid relief from cold and flu symptoms. Paracetamol provides relief from fever and pain. Herbal lozenges soothe a sore throat. Expectorants can help with thinning the mucus. Antihistamines provide relief from sneezing and stifling.

Combination treatment is generally provided for the comprehensive management of symptoms. It is to be noted that these drugs should only be administered to children after consultation with a healthcare professional.

Healthy diet

Diet provides the required energy and nutrients for fighting against infection and for accelerating the recovery process. Honey has an antibacterial property while ginger provides symptomatic relief from cold. Oatmeal possesses the property of stimulating the immune system and contains beta-glucan, helps managing gut health.

Diet should contain foods with enough vitamin C to boost immunity. Yogurt and probiotic drinks also help in managing the symptoms of the flu by improving digestion. Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries contain anthocyanins which have anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting and antiviral properties.

Stay hygienic

Adopting measures to prevent the infection from spreading helps early improvement in a cold. Humidifiers release moisture in the air which helps relieve nasal congestion. Studies have confirmed that washing hands properly is extremely effective in preventing the spread of infection.

The unorthodox methods to manage cold

The section above has the best and highly effective rules to follow during a cold. There are also certain unorthodox and unusual methods to relieve the symptoms. It is advised that you consult your doctor before trying these methods as these may not be effective in your case.

Wearing cold wet socks

Soak a pair of socks in cold water. Wear them on the feet and wear a pair of thermal socks above them. This is like hydrotherapy treatment. Wearing cold socks with a thermal sock above and keeping the feet under a blanket is believed to improve blood circulation in the feet. This helps to relieve congestion.


A slight increase in body temperature helps increase the efficacy of the immune system. The best method to increase body temperature is by developing a mild to moderate exercise regimen. Peppermint or yarrow teas are also effective in increasing body temperature.

Raw onion

Eating raw onion is an effective treatment for managing the symptoms of a cold. It accelerates the recovery process by improving the immune system. The antibacterial property of onions helps prevent the onset of infections.

Coconut water

Coconut water is rich in nutrients and more importantly, it supplies essential electrolytes to the body. Hydration is an important remedy for colds, which can be achieved by drinking coconut water.

Listening to music

It is a proven fact that music is an excellent therapy when it comes to improving mental health. However, the same can be applied in context to cold. Music such as jazz, bluegrass, soft rock, and choral music increases the concentration of immunoglobulin.

This immunoglobulin increases the efficiency of the body in fighting infections. It has also been found that the antibody count continues to increase in the body even 30-minutes after the music stops.


Cold has no treatment. Various methods can be applied to accelerate the recovery process and to prevent re-infection. Although these measures are highly effective, not all methods are effective for everyone.

While a combination of these methods like rest, proper hydration, a healthy diet, and over-the-counter medications seem to work for many patients, it is best to consult your physician about the method that would work best for you.

This list by us, are things to do in the meanwhile. 

How do you get rid of a cold in 24 hours?

You’d be best served by resting, hydrating constantly, taking hot beverages, eat healthy and simple, and staying hygienic.

How do you cure a cold in a day?

You’d be best served by resting, hydrating constantly, taking hot beverages, eat healthy and simple, and staying hygienic.

What should I do if I catch a cold?

Make sure to rest yourself thoroughly. Keep drinking water and warm beverages. Stay hygienic and eat easy-to-digest healthy foods.

Can you sweat out a cold?

No, quite the opposite. You should rest and let the body focus on fighting it.

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