When you get down with a flu or have cough and cold, your body has a mechanism set in place to cure the illness on its own. You don’t have to treat the illness; your immune system does that automatically. However, the resulting symptoms can make you feel wretched. You should always consult a general physician to relieve your symptoms. However, if you are not able to do so for some reason, here are some ways you can treat the symptoms of cold and cough:
Medicines used for cough and cold treatment
Following medicines can be useful in cold cough treatment:
- Antihistamines (helpful in drying out the nose)
For example, loratadine (Claritin®) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl®).
Some of these medicines can have a drowsy effect on people; thus, you should avoid high-risk activities such as driving after taking any of these.
- Decongestants (helpful in reliving stuffy/clogged nose)
For example, pseudoephedrine (Sudafed®).
- Nasal steroids (helpful in sinus pressure, cold, and runny nose treatment)
For example, fluticasone (Flonase®) and mometasone (Nasonex®, requires prescription).
- Analgesics (helpful in relieving pain and fever)
For example, ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen.
- Antitussives (helpful in suppressing coughs)
For example, dextromethorphan (Benylin paediatric formula for treatment of cough in infants.
Home remedies for cough and cold treatment
You can use the following remedies for flu and cough to help with the symptoms:
- Gargle with salt water (lukewarm-warm)
Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and gargle with it 3 to 4 times a day to ease sore throat and coughs.
- Drink warm water with honey (and maybe ginger too)
Honey and ginger both have anti-inflammatory properties that will soothe your sore throat.
- Take hot water baths or inhale steam
Inhaling steam directly or during the bath will help loosen the mucus, allowing you to blow out the thick mucus contesting your nasal passage easily.
Ample sleep will help your immune system do the job faster and get you well soon.
How are cough and cold treated?
The body treats cough and cold on its own; all you can do is treat the symptoms—runny/stuffy nose, excessive coughing or sneezing, and headaches—with the help of treatments and home remedies mentioned above.
Is blood test required for cough and cold treatment?
No. Cough and cold are quite common (average adult gets it 2 to 3 times a year) and are related to the inflammation of the respiratory tract. Thus, conducting a blood test is not required. However, if you were to conduct a blood test, you will see a rise in WBCs and histamines.
How much does the cough and cold test cost?
There is no test required for diagnosing cough and cold. You can go for a general physician consultation if you are concerned, which will cost about INR 200–500.
Can you get the cough and cold medicine without a doctor’s prescription?
Yes. Since common cold (the reason for most cough and cold related illnesses) is quite common, there are plenty over-the-counter (OTC) medicines available for people that do not require a doctor’s prescription.
What is the fastest way to cure cough and cold?
Following tips are helpful in treatment for flu and cough and quickly getting better:
Get enough rest
Eat nutritious food
Drink plenty of fluids
Avoid going out