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No Cure For The Common Cold, But Here Are The Remedies That Work

Agnus Smith Published: June 14, 2018 Updated: September 19, 2018

Lemon tea

Medicine has come a long way, there’s no denying that. In fact, in the last century alone, we have seen numerous diseases, such as Malaria and Polio, eradicated. With all the progress being made, the question on most people’s mind is how come we haven’t found the cure for the common cold?

Why There’s No Cure For The Common Cold

Well, for starters, there isn’t just one virus strain that causes a cold. While the cause of most colds is a variation of the rhinovirus, there are over 200 viruses that can cause you to experience flu-like symptoms. Furthermore, only about 10% of the cold virus strains from the previous year will show up again the following year, which makes it difficult to predict exactly which vaccinations or cures will be needed.

The common cold usually isn’t considered a severe illness, and will most likely only hang around for a short period. So, for most, finding a cure really isn’t a top priority. Time and resources are much better allocated to fighting deadly or crippling diseases and viruses.

Broad Spectrum Antivirals For The Common Cold

While there is no vaccine or cure for the common cold yet, there is some research being done in the field. For example, medical researchers are experimenting with what is known as a broad spectrum antiviral for rhinoviruses.

What this antiviral would do is go after a multitude of different strains of the cold-causing virus, essentially blocking the virus's ability to multiply. However, there is still work that needs to be done, and any cure or vaccine wouldn’t be readily available in the near future. That is why many people are turning to remedies for their common cold. Some have been shown to work wonders, while others haven’t.

molecular rhinovirus
Figure 1: Rendering of the rhinovirus

Remedies For The Common Cold

It’s likely that your family has their own remedies for curing your cold, and although that cinnamon and apple vinegar cocktail chased with a shot of single malt scotch may do the trick, here are some of the remedies that have been proven to work.

Lots And Lots Of Fluids - But Not Too Much

You’ve probably heard that it’s a good idea to drink water to “flush out” your infection or virus, and this remedy actually works. It’s important to drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated while you're sick, and adding some herbal tea, honey, and lemon can also help alleviate your congestion. However it’s important not to overdrink, which can lead to hyponatremia, which occurs when you are too hydrated, and your sodium levels drop to dangerous levels.

Getting Some Much Needed Beauty Sleep

If you have a common cold, you finally have a reason to stay home and catch up on that sleep you’ve been neglecting. Sleep may not be a way to get rid of a cold, but resting up does allow your body to fight off viruses and infections.

Break Out Your Cleaning Shoes

Your cold is contagious, and it can spread. Anything you touch while suffering from the demon virus can help it spread. Make sure to clean up around your house, and use disinfecting wipes or spray to keep your house safe, especially after you touch a surface.

Hello Humidifier

Humidifiers or mist vaporizers won’t necessarily cure a cold, but it will help you get rid of some of those pesky symptoms, like congestion. Humidifiers and vaporizers are great for saving you from congestion.

Good Old Saltwater

A common remedy for the common cold involves saltwater. It’s recommended that you create a concoction of, you guessed it, salt and warm water. Medical News Today suggests mixing ½ oz of salt into a warm, 8 oz glass of water, and gargling. The combination of salt and water will help soothe an irritated or a sore throat.

Over The Counter Pain Relievers

There is no medicine or antibiotic that will shorten recovery time, or fight the common cold. However, there are over the counter pain relievers that will help mitigate some of the symptoms, like fever, achiness, soreness, and overall pain. Talk to your physician before taking anything.

Hopefully, one of these days, a broad spectrum antiviral will become available for the common cold, and cure us of all our symptoms. Until then, these remedies should make your life a little easier. Otherwise, you can stick to your grandma’s favorite chicken soup recipe.