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8 Effective Common Cold Home Remedies

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Kristel Lagorza · Updated Feb 16, 2023

    8 Effective Common Cold Home Remedies

    Nowadays, getting the common cold has become a source of anxiety for some, because it exhibits symptoms similar to COVID-19. When it comes to common cold treatment, doctors may prescribe medication to manage the symptoms, but it does not kill the virus that causes it.

    Typically, your immune system fights off the virus and one usually recovers from it over time. Boosting one’s immune system is key to overcoming the virus.

    Simple Common Cold Remedies and Treatments

    For the common cold, there are a number of simple, easy common cold treatment methods that you can do at home.

    Ginger tea

    Ginger is a kitchen staple and root spice that is closely related to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. It has been traditionally used as medicine because of its anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant effects.

    Its active component ginger helps to relieve a sore throat quickly and stave off the common cold. Steeping fresh ginger and drinking it with lemon and honey is one of the most common ways to reap its health benefits. 

    Zinc lozenges

    Zinc supplements may help shorten the duration of colds and eas its symptoms, if taken within 24 hours after symptoms first appear. 

    When in the form of lozenges, this common cold treatment works by blocking the cold virus from replicating and impairing its ability to enter cells in the nose and throat.

    Chicken soup

    Ever wondered why chicken soup has been traditionally offered as common cold treatment? Studies have shown that eating chicken soup with vegetables prepared from scratch or heated from a can may slow down the movement of neutrophils in the body.

    Neutrophils are a common type of white blood cell that aid the body in fighting infection. They stay in areas of the body that need healing.  

    common cold treatment


    Honey is known to have wound-healing properties and antibacterial benefits. One study showed that honey can be a form of common cold treatment because it relieves coughing, which is a symptom of the common cold, in children over a year old.

    Honey also makes children sleep more soundly and helps them get proper rest, which helps reduce cold symptoms. However, honey should not be given to children below one-year-old due to infant botulism risk. Honey is usually taken on its own, or stirred in with tea or any warm liquid.


    Probiotics are found in yogurts, kombuchas, and other probiotic-fortified drinks. These may improve a person’s health by regulating immune function. Consuming probiotics may reduce a person’s chance of getting sick, catching the common cold, or getting a respiratory tract infection. 


    Using cool mist vaporizers or humidifiers can aid common cold treatment by managing common cold symptoms such as sore throat, cough, and congestion.

    Through humidifiers, moisture is added to the air you breathe, which helps sinus congestion by loosening up the mucus secretions in the nasal passages. When using a humidifier, make sure to always clean the water inside to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.


    Increasing intake of garlic strengthens the immune system as it stimulates the multiplication of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off illnesses. Garlic, which has a unique compound called allicin, increases antibody production.

    A study showed that garlic boosts the immune system and helps stave off sicknesses like the common cold. 

    Tips to prevent catching the common cold

     They say that prevention is better than cure. Although preventing a cold may not always be possible, here are some precautions that may help:

    • Frequent handwashing

    Frequent hand washing is one of the most effective means to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. Germs and viruses get onto peoples’ hands, and they can easily be  spread via contact or by air through droplets. Frequent washing with soap and water for 20 seconds kills these harmful viruses, preventing you from getting sick.

  • Keep your immune system strong by following a healthy diet and lifestyle
  • Aside from maintaining good hygiene, boosting the immune system helps the body fight any illness and keep sickness at bay. Get plenty of sleep, exercise, keep stress levels low, and eat a well-balanced diet to boost the immune system.

    • If  sick, self-isolate

    When we do feel sick or have the common cold, it is important to not spread the sickness to others. Self-isolate at home, avoiding crowded places, and practicing proper coughing or sneezing etiquette. Wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth when outside. When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue or cough/ sneeze into the crook of your arm. 

    By following these simple tips and common cold treatment ideas,  you can significantly reduce your chances of contracting the virus and spreading it to others.

    How is the common cold different from COVID-19? 

    While both are caused by coronaviruses and share common symptoms, the common cold and COVID-19 are very different and unique 

    The common cold is considered a mild respiratory illness. Its symptoms include:

  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Fever. A person infected with the common cold can develop symptoms in one to four days.
  • Doctors diagnose the common cold using clinical observation and medical history. 

    COVID-19, on the other hand, is a new virus that is still being studied. Symptoms of COVID-19 include: 

    • High fever
    • Moderate to severe coughing
    • Shortness of breath, which occurs five to 10 days after the first sign of fever
    • The incubation period for COVID-19 is between one and 14 days

    If you experience any of these symptoms and think you might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, it is best to self-quarantine for two weeks. If symptoms persist and become more severe especially one’s breathing, seek immediate medical attention. 


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Kristel Lagorza · Updated Feb 16, 2023

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