Now that winter is upon us, it’s time to stock up on tissue! The likelihood of someone in your home coming down with a cold over the winter months is about as guaranteed as your child skinning their knee at some point during summer vacation. It just happens. And while there is no cure for the common cold, the good news is there are plenty of ways to treat it to make your illness briefer and less frustrating.

While you can expect to be sick for one to two weeks, there are simple remedies that will make you less miserable along the way:

Stay hydrated.

Water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water with honey helps loosen congestion and prevents dehydration. Avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas, which can make dehydration worse. Taking in warm liquids, such as chicken soup, tea or warm apple juice, might be soothing and might ease congestion by increasing mucus flow.


Your body needs to heal.

Don’t Worry, It’s Just the Common Cold.

A saltwater gargle — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water — can temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat. Children younger than 6 years are unlikely to be able to gargle properly. Ice chips, sore throat sprays, lozenges or hard candy can also be helpful, but don’t give lozenges or hard candy to children under 6 (and use caution otherwise).

Add moisture to the air.

A cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier can add moisture to your home, which might help loosen congestion. Change the water daily, and clean the unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

While there are plenty of over-the-counter cold and cough medications, we recommend consulting with your doctor before giving any medication to a child.

Feel better!