Although the common cold can’t be treated by antibiotics or other prescription meds, here is my advice as a pharmacy student on how to return to health as quickly as possible! These remedies can be found in the comfort of your home or at your local pharmacy. Remember: NEVER take antibiotics to treat the common cold. This can contribute to antibiotic resistance.

    • When suffering from congestion, it’s important constantly blow your nose, instead of sniffling and trying to keep it all inside. Blowing your nose clears your sinuses and releases the built up pressure, that often results in headaches and discomfort. Failure to blow your nose can lead to blocked sinuses that could cause a bacterial infection and persisting symptoms that require antibiotic treatment. There is nothing worse than a sore, red nose from constant blowing, so treat yourself to some nice tissues! My favorites are the Puffs with Vicks. They are extremely soft, preventing soreness, and the Vicks does wonders with opening the sinuses.


    • Drink it!Water is an extremely important part of self-care during a cold in several ways. You should constantly be drinking water throughout the day. Drinking water prevents dehydration and keeps your body running smoothly. Drinking hot water, especially tea with honey and lemon is extremely effective at clearing sinuses and soothing a sore throat. Many teas also contain antioxidants which support the immune system.
    • Take hot showers! The steam is a great way to moisturize your sinuses, and even more, cleaning yourself is an important step in health care and will make you feel loads better.
    • Gargle it! Gargling salt water about 4 times per day moistens a sore throat and acts as a great temporary relief when the pain grows unbearable.


  • REST
    • Giving your body a break is key during times of sickness. Resting and getting plenty of sleep at night allows your body to reserve its energy for the immune system. If you have no choice but to go to work or school, do what you can to relax when the day is done. Skipping a day at the gym won’t kill you, and it will mostly likely help you get you back to 100% much quicker. If you find your symptoms getting in the way of a good night’s sleep, try taking Vicks NyQuil Sever Cold and Flu. Each dose contains 650 mg acetaminophen, 20 mg dextromethorphan HBr, 12.5 mg doxylamine succinate , and 10 mg
      phenylephrine HCl  which cause it to act as a nasal decongestant, cough suppressant, pain reliever, and sleep aid. In other words, it relieves your symptoms and helps you fall asleep.


    • There are several great over the counter medications that can make living with a cold bearable when you still have to be productive during the day. All of these medications can be found at your local pharmacy.
      • Mucinex D*: Each tablet contains 600 mg of Guaifenesin and 60 mg of Pseudoephedrine HCl. These ingredients work together to clear nasal/sinus congestion and pressure, and loosen mucous. There are many different types of Mucinex products to target specific symptoms, so you should do some research to find the best product to treat your sickness.
      • Advil Cold & Sinus*: Each tablet contains 200 mg of Ibuprofen and 30 mg of Pseudoephedrine HCl. This medication relieves headache, fever, sinus pressure, nasal congestion, and minor body aches.
      • Sudafed Sinus 12 Hour*: Each tablet contains 120 mg Pseudoephedrine HCl to relieve sinus pressure and congestion.
      • Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus, Cold, & Cough: Each tablet contains 250 mg of acetaminophen, 10 mg of dextromethorphan hydrobromide, 200 mg of Guaifensin, and 5 mg of phenylephrine HCl to relieve nasal/sinus congestion and pressure, headache, fever, cough, sore throat, and minor aches.
    • * This product is kept behind the pharmacist’s counter, because of the ingredient pseudoephedrine HCl which can be used to make methamphetamine, so it must be more closely regulated. All you have to do is ask the pharmacist for it and show a valid ID, no prescription needed!
    • My personal favorite out of these popular cold medications is Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus, Cold, & Cough. It has more active ingredients, so it treats most of the symptoms you often experience when dealing with a cold. In addition, you can find it right on the shelves of the drugstore! When you’re feeling horrible, I tend to want to get in and get out with the least amount of human interaction possible.
    • Use the medication that works best for you. If taking prescription medications, make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist before trying these. Always follow the instructions on the box of the medication for the best and safest results. If symptoms grow worse or persist for an unusually long time, visit your doctor to explore other possibilities.