Fast Acting Home Remedies for Colds and Sore Throat

If you catch a cold, you’re not alone–according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Americans catch around one billion colds a year, providing plenty of stuffy noses, headaches and sore throats for everyone. If you have a temperature of 101 degrees F or higher with your cold, if your cold or sore throat is accompanied by severe pain or stiffness or if your cold persists for longer than two weeks, consult your health care provider to rule out potential complications or more serious causes. In general, however, colds and sore throats respond well to home remedies.

Clear Head With Steam

To quickly shake a stuffy nose and head, Brown University’s Health Services department website recommends giving yourself a quick steam treatment. The hot, humid air will temporarily clear up your head so you can breathe. If you don’t have a vaporizer or humidifier, taking a hot shower, draping a damp towel above your radiator or even just sitting in a steamy bathroom will work.

Gargle With Salt Water

Gargling with warm salt water can quickly relieve some of the pain caused by a sore throat, according to the Mayo Clinic. The combination helps clear away mucous and fight infection, and you can use it several times a day if you need to. If you can’t stomach gargling, try mixing lemon and honey with warm water to make a soothing, throat-coating drink.

Have Bowl of Chicken Soup

Chicken soup helps improve cold symptoms fast in two ways, according to the Mayo Clinic. Chicken soup has an anti-inflammatory effect that soothes inflamed nasal passages and relieves throat pain caused by swollen glands, and it speeds up mucous through your nasal passages, reducing your risk of infection and making it easier for you to breathe.

Irrigate Nasal Passages

If your cold and sore throat are accompanied by a serious runny nose, irrigating your nasal passages can be an effective quick fix, according to the Brown University’s Health Services department website. Use a neti pot or other nasal irrigation tool to push saline solution through your nasal passages and let it drain back out again. Your throat and nose will experience temporary relief from mucous.