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Home Remedies to Treat Your Cold and Flu


Updated May 16, 2014

Home remedy for the common cold
Susie Cushner Collection/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Treat Your Cold at Home:

Depending on your symptoms and your health, you may have several options for cold and flu treatments. Since a cold does not usually require a visit to the doctor, you can do a lot to take care of yourself and your family at home. From taking medications to getting extra rest, taking care of yourself is essential. There is no cure for the common cold, but you can suffer a little less with these tips.

Before You Treat Your Cold at Home

Not sure if you have a cold or the flu? Take this quick and easy quiz to find out.

Quiz: Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Flu Treatments:

The flu, or influenza, is a much more serious virus than the common cold. Although most people recover from the flu with no problems, over 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year with the illness and as many as 36,000 die.

Your Flu Treatment Options

Early detection is critical when you have the flu. If you realize or suspect that you have the flu within 48 hours of the start of symptoms, you could suffer a lot less. Taking Tamiflu or another antiviral medication may help shorten the duration or reduce the symptoms of the flu.

Taking Antiviral Medications to Treat the Flu

OTC Medications for Cold and Flu Symptoms:

The list of over-the-counter cold and flu medications seems endless. Just walking down the cold and flu aisle in the drugstore can be overwhelming. How do you know what you need or which brand is the best?

Your best bet is to figure out what symptoms you are having and find a medication, or a few medications, that treat those symptoms. But be careful not to take a medication that treats symptoms you don't have. Not only is it unnecessary, but it could also be dangerous. This list will give you an idea of what is available and what will work for you.

Over the Counter Cold and Flu Medications

Natural/Herbal Medications

Treat the Flu Before You Get It:

The best way to treat the flu, of course, is to prevent it. Getting a flu shot every year will greatly reduce your risk of getting the flu. Although it is a good idea for most people to have the flu shot, certain people should get the vaccination every year.

All About the Flu Shot

Nasal Flu Vaccine

Flu Shots for Kids

More About the Cold and Flu:

What Is the Cold/Flu?

Symptoms of the Cold/Flu

Diagnosing the Cold/Flu


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Key Facts About Influenza and the Influenza Vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 30 Aug 2006. Department of Health and Human Services. 31 May 2007.


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  1. About.com
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