How to cure a cold?

Dec 20, 2021 Cold and Flu


Feeling sick and thinking it’s just a common cold? How can you be sure? What can you do to treat and cure it? Depending on how ill you feel and what symptoms you may have, there are many effective ways to cure and treat a common cold.  

There are many common cold cures available some prescribed and some not. But there are no quick fixes when you have a common cold cure as it often lasts between 7 - 10 days and viral infections need to run their course. So it’s essential that you find a treatment or cure that works for you. In fact, adults in the Uk on average experience 2-3 common colds a year while children usually experience 5-8 a year. 

For millions of people, this is standard practice as we arrive into the colder months of the year, viral and bacterial infections become more common. We all have ways of coping when we are ill, like having the heating on full blast with 40 blankets on, treatments/prescriptions or even just drinking plenty of water while watching endless tv shows.

So what is the best way to cure a common cold and how do you know when you have one?

Knowing you have a common cold 

How do you know when you have a cold? There are some known symptoms of having a common cold. However, with other viral diseases such as the flu or even COVID-19, it can sometimes be hard to know the difference between having a cold or a more serious illness.

So what are the symptoms of having a common cold and how can you diagnose it without having to see a doctor?

Symptoms of a cold 

Well, there are some pretty clear symptoms of a cold as shown below:

  • Having a cough/sore throat- This is one of the most common symptoms of having a cold as coughing is a way to clear the infection from the throat. If you feel like your throat has swollen up and is sore causing you to cough regularly then you may have a cold.

  • Blocked/runny nose- Not able to smell anything due to a blocked nose? Having a blocked and runny nose can be a pain but is a clear symptom of developing a cold when the body is infected.

  • Headaches/muscle aches- headaches and feeling achy around your body is another sign you could have a cold as your body reacts to the common cold virus. 

  • Rise in body temperature- Feeling feverish and very hot is a natural way your body tries to fight a cold to raise the body temperature to kill viral infections and illnesses.

  • Loss of taste and smell- Often when your sense of smell is taken away (blocked/runny nose) your sense of taste does as well. Viruses cause inflammation on the nerve lining in the nose as well and this can also impact your smell and taste. 

If you have a couple or even all of these symptoms it’s safe to say that you have a common cold. However, there are many effective and easy ways to treat a common cold that you can do at home and with the help of prescriptions.

Common cold treatments 

There are many common cold cures and treatments that you can do to help you recover from your illness faster and get back to normal life. Many of these treatments you can even do at home by yourself depending on how the symptoms affect you.

What not to do with a common cold 

Although there are many common cold treatments and cures that do work, there are still plenty of things you should avoid when you have a cold. These could cause you to be ill for longer, worsen your condition and may impede the effectiveness of the remedies you should take. So here is what NOT to do when you have a cold:

  • Drinking alcohol - Alcohol dehydrates your body, which is the exact opposite of what you want when trying to cure and treat a cold. Therefore drinking alcohol should be avoided for a speedy recovery.

  • Antibiotics - Common colds are viral infections meaning antibiotics are useless against them as they are used to treat bacterial infections. It can also make future antibiotics less useful/effective, making bacterial infections more harmful to your immune system.

  • Zinc - Zinc does not have any proven properties to help ease cold symptoms.

  • Smoking - Avoid smoking when you have a cough. It will only worsen your sore throat and cough symptoms and will cause them to become more irritated meaning more painful coughing.

  • Vitamin C - Vitamin C supplements are not a cure to reduce your cold symptoms and there is no evidence to suggest that they can. Not to say you should avoid vitamin C but it will not be helpful for treating a common cold.

Common cold cures

So what common cold treatments and cures are available to help you recover faster? Well here are some cures and remedies that you can use at home to help shorten your recovery time:

  • Sleep and rest - Keeping rested and making sure you get regular sleep is essential to helping to recover quicker. This gives your body’s immune system time to reset and heal your body.

  • Hydration- Viral infections like the common cold dehydrate your body making you weaker. Making sure you consume plenty of water and other liquids like juice are important to keeping your body hydrated, healthy and help you cure your cold quicker.

  • Gargle saltwater - Although it may seem rather unpleasant, gargling salt water a few times a day is a great way to help treat a sore throat. The slaty water helps bring out viral infections in the throat and expel them from the body.

  • Keep Warm - Warm blankets, tea and soup are all ways we keep ourselves warm while having a cold. This is good, as keeping warm when you have a cold helps kill off the virus faster in your body and recover faster. 


As well as the common cold cures and treatments above you can also help yourself by using prescriptions. Getting a little extra help reducing pain and swelling can be very effective in curing a cold. Here are the best prescriptions to use to cure common cold symptoms:

  • Ibuprofen - Taking ibuprofen is a great way to help relieve symptoms like headaches and joint pain and can also lower a fever by reducing inflammation. This will help you to recover quicker and ease your symptoms.

  • Paracetamol - Again paracetamol is a painkiller that will help ease your cold symptoms and relieve you from headaches, joint and muscle pain. Again this will help you to cure your cold and feel better. 

  • Cough Medicines - Cough and cold medicines can soothe your throat and help reduce inflammation and swelling in your mouth. There are many different coughs and cold remedies so see our website and find the medicine that works best for you.

  • Nasal spray - Using Nasal spray or other cures for blocked/stuffy noses can help treat your cold and clear your nasal passages so that you have less difficulty breathing and regain your sense of smell/taste. 

Find out more about how you can get 20% off of your common cold treatments and remedies plus much more.

When should you visit a doctor?

If you are finding that your common cold cures are not getting rid of your cold then it is important to know when to visit your GP. So, please visit your GP if:

  • Your cold symptoms get gradually worse even with the help of treatments.

  • You have a serious or long term medical condition. For example: if you have diabetes, any lung, heart or kidney conditions or if you are receiving treatment or medication for another illness i.e chemotherapy.

  • Your common cold symptoms haven’t improved at all in a month or so.

  • Feeling short of breath, have a really high temperature or if you are hot and shivering excessively.

Common cold vs Covid  

Although common colds are very ordinary for the average person, it can be hard to identify if you may have a different illness such as COVID-19. Although different, they have very similar symptoms like a continuous cough, loss of taste and smell and so on. So spotting the difference between a cold and COVID-19 is key.

Looking for a full breakdown of symptoms and differences. Check out this article breaking down everything we know about the common cold and COVID-19.

Common cold vs Flu 

Common colds and the flu have very similar symptoms as well and some common cold cures can be used to help ease these as well. But knowing the difference is key to the rate of your recovery. 

So here are the key differences:

  • The flu affects more parts of your body than a common cold (more aches and pains).

  • Instead of being just feeling tired, the flu can make you feel more exhausted and more unwell than a common cold.

  • Flu tends to affect your body and cause symptoms more rapidly than a common cold. 

Explore our flu medication and treatments to discover more options for curing and treating yourself this winter and keeping yourself healthy.

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