What is the Best Treatment for a Common Cold?

Janet Smith, CNP discusses the best treatment for a common cold. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


If you have a cold, keep in mind that it is a virus. It should not be treated with antibiotics because antibiotics don’t work against viruses, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The best ways to treat your cold include:

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep
  • Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated
  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer to loosen mucus
  • Try over-the-counter saline nasal sprays
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Use throat drops to soothe pain
  • Drink warm fluids, such as tea or soup, to loosen mucus
  • Gargle with warm saltwater

Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines don’t make colds go away faster but can help ease cold symptoms for adults and older children, according to the National Institutes of Health.

For more information on how to treat a cold, talk with your doctor.

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