We all know there is no cure for the common cold. But what else is there besides the cold pills and the cough syrups to make us feel better? Try these things.


Blow your nose frequently. When phlegm is allowed to build up, it drips down the throat and makes colds much worse, not only by stuffing up the infected person but by making it easier for the cold to continue.

"When you have sinusitis, there is a small pore called the osteonasal complex that gets blocked," said Dr. Narinder Duggal. "Block that pore and it's a breeding ground for bugs."

Instead of expectorants, try simple hydration. Drinking a large glass of water often helps to loosen phlegm as effectively as any over-the-counter medicine.

Humidify the air in the house, which will make breathing easier and keep the nasal passages moist.

Medical professionals are up in the air about herbal remedies such as echinacea and goldenseal, as well as the effectiveness of vitamins. While the herbs can't hurt and probably do a bit to boost the immune system, there's no proof that they help cure a cold. And since they aren't regulated, consumers have no way of telling what is actually in the capsules they are buying.


Most medical doctors agree that coughs are generally positive, and that trying to suppress them can be counterproductive to helping clear away an illness. But in those cases where a cough is painful or keeps you awake, there are some steps to ease the hacking.

Drink hot beverages. Drinking noncaffeinated teas or even just water as hot as you can stand it can often help clear away secretions that have run down the back of the throat, causing a cough. *