Picture of Home Remedies for the Common Cold
Cold season is upon us once again, and I've got a nasty head cold right now, most likely contracted by babysitting some small children (aka cute little cesspools of disease). Since I don't have any cold medicine in the house and can't be arsed to go to the drug store, I thought I would try a few popular home remedies in a completely non-scientific (and desperate) attempt to feel better.

While there is no cure or reliable treatment for the common cold, there are many remedies that will help you feel better and alleviate some of the symptoms. If you think you have a better way of defeating acute viral rhinopharyngitis, let me know in the comments section.

Note: I've ripped off stock photos from the internet rather than take my own, since I don't feel like getting off the couch right now. If I've linked to your photo without your permission, please send an email to [my user name] rather than suing me or changing the image on your server to goatse, etc.
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Step 1: Take a shower, wash your hands

Picture of Take a shower, wash your hands
I always feel better after taking a shower in the morning, and my theory is that the steam will help with cold symptoms by loosening up the mucous plugging up my nose and throat. Showering also keeps you clean, lessening the number of germs your body has to fight off.

Washing your hands is a good idea even if you're not sick, and if you're blowing your nose every five minutes like I am, it's also a good way to prevent transmitting your disease to other people.

Step 2: Vitamin C

Picture of Vitamin C
My grandpaw was a biochemistry professor for decades, and always swore by ascorbic acid as a general cure-all and immune system booster. Since vitamin C is non-toxic and merely passes through your body, taking huge doses of the stuff can't really hurt you, even if it might not help either.

You can take it in pill form or by eating citrus fruit like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits.
OUTFOX3 years ago
Great instructable!
ilpug4 years ago
you should try the neti pot system to clan your sinuses. Also, i have heard that a more fruity type of alcohol is better for sickness. i love english breakfast tea. im drinking it now. remember that hte caffiene in tea can keep you from getting helpful rest, you want the herbal cleansing benifits of the tea, not the sleeplessness. use decaf.
taransa ilpug3 years ago
Important to note that it is not good to use straight tap water in the neti pots - distilled is best.
discontinuuity (author)  ilpug4 years ago
I've seen the neti pot thing, but it creeps me out a bit. Maybe if I get really congested again I'll get desperate enough to use it.
discontinuuity (author)  ilpug4 years ago
I typically only drink caffeine in the morning or early afternoon because of this. I'm mostly a coffee drinker, but good strong black tea or high quality oolong is nice too.
wblack33 years ago
Oh, yeah, don't blow your nose too hard too often, or cough too hard/often...

you wanna lessen the damage to your mucosal lining

and swallow it... seriously! It helps the immune system*

* I read that somewhere in journal, but I forget where.
wblack33 years ago
Hey, cute instructible!

I studied a closely related virus in my PhD project which causes sort of the common cold in horses (would you believe): equine rhinitis B virus, ERBV.

Through direct experimentation and literature reviews, I've found that re. the human 'common cold':

- Often caused by the human rhinovirus HRV, but not always
- HRV has no lipid envelope, so detergents are ineffective at killing it as such, but good for cleaning surfaces, hands, etc anyway
- HRV very sensitive to acids like dilute vinegar
- HRV causes that watery runny nose for 2-4 days or so, but stays in the nose, upper throat, but not the lungs, because it grows at 33'C or so and doesn't like growing at 37'C (body temperature... I don't 'do' 'F... )
- usually, a cold goes from the virus infection to a post-viral bacterial infection after a couple of days... all that thick greeny snot... because the virus has 'messed up' the nice lining of the nose and throat, allowing bacteria to invade
- HRV and some bacteria don't like growing with Zinc ions, and your body likes Zinc, vit B12 to make new cells inc. immune cells,
- the body uses vit C and E as antioxidants to help prevent 'friendly fire'... the powerful superoxides your immune cells use to kill invading nasties can hang around and damage your own cells too. Vitamin C and E can help mop these up.
- a head-cold is very very different to the 'flu. A cold is like 'cough cough, ooo I feel a bit unwell, runny nose, slight fever maybe, green snot maybe...wonder what's for dinner?' for the last 3 days maybe

A 'flu is '....... I want to die.... just shoot me now... my knees hurt, my eyes ache, and have been for the last 5 days...nose not so runny and no real cough as such... I've a high fever and feel too hot then suddenly too cold, then too hot and sweaty...couldn't possibly eat a thing... I'm just gunna lie here and do nothing for the rest of time, hokay?'

My old micro prof, Ian Holmes, said a person that has had the true 'flu NEVER confuses the two ever again...

What has worked for me is:
PREVENTION- i.e., normally, when not sick
- taking a slow absorbing multivitamin tablet every few days,
- rest, be sensible
- eat good
- don't stress
- wash your hands regularly, ideally with 'skin pH' body wash, pH 5.5 or so. It's good for your skin
- don't stick unwashed hands in your nose, eyes, mouth
- if someone near you is sick, begin quietly taking more Zinc, especially those lozenges with Zinc gluconate in them... suck slowly and don't eat or drink for a long time afterwards. Does make things taste funny, but knocks off nasties.

- more Zinc, vit C, but not too much (it'll give you the 'runs')
- Patented cure-all: juice of 1 lemon, honey, garlic, ginger, some fizzy aspirin, shot of whisky, hot water.

PS 'man 'flu' has been proven as real!
Win Guy3 years ago
I <3 the intro image! lol. 5/5 Great 'ible!
Win Guy
airborne works well before the cold strikes hard, and after to really boost the immune systems kickbutt power.
jianqiang5 years ago
 I'm currently sick and after reading your 'ible, I just want to drink some whiskey! 
discontinuuity (author)  jianqiang4 years ago
Whiskey is nice! I've got a bottle of Buffalo Trace bourbon on my desk right now. Cough syrup might be more effective, but whiskey tastes better.
framistan5 years ago
I have found a way to AVOID getting colds in the first place... this method works for me.. i used to get several colds a year, now only get one every couple years.  What i do is simple.  One day I noticed that during the night before getting the cold, my throat would feel "dry" and scratchy whenever
i woke up.  If i get up to use the restroom, and notice my throat has this "dry, scratchy" feeling, I just spray a tiny bit of chloraseptic or just  mouthwash in my mouth, then go back to bed.  I think this works because while sleeping, our throat drys out from breathing dry air and the throat drys out, and germs/viruses set up shop.  If the scratchy throat is ignored, then next morning you have a cold.  If a cold does get me, I get rid of it quick by keeping a small heating pad near my feet while sleeping.  keeps me from getting "chilled" and having sneez-attacks.... These 2 strategies really work very well for me.  I hope this helps others, along with all the other good suggestions in your fine instructable....
discontinuuity (author)  framistan4 years ago
Maybe I'll try that, since I live in a dry climate.
discontinuuity (author) 6 years ago
Just a thought, but could one cure be "more cowbell"?

try it.
nice ible i read somewhere if u have a cough eating dark chocolate controls the cough for sometime
discontinuuity (author)  nightninja876 years ago
Never heard that before. If anything, it will always make you feel a little better!
The Jamalam6 years ago
Hold on... you suggest rest but you have a bad headcold while you are making this instructable. Wouldn't it be better to write this after lol
discontinuuity (author)  The Jamalam6 years ago
Yes, I did this rather than go out of the house or clean the kitchen. I definitely felt better after I took a nap this afternoon.
discontinuuity (author)  discontinuuity6 years ago
Being sick is a great excuse to avoid work.
ChrysN6 years ago
Sleep really helps me when I start to feel a cold coming on.