How to treat a cold at home

If you're unlucky and get a cold, there is an arsenal of over-the-counter products to help relieve symptoms.

27 June 2019
By Keri Harvey

It may start with a simple cough or sneeze and be done with, or you may suddenly have aching muscles, respiratory symptoms and a fever, which all signal something more serious.  “It’s only if you’ve felt sick for a few days, have a fever or green mucous that it may be necessary to see your doctor to treat an infection,” says Clicks Pharmacist Madri Botha. 

Pharmacists are able to advise on an effective OTC regimen depending on specific symptoms, as well as what is safe to take with chronic medications the patient may be using, for example the blood thinner Warfarin. It’s important to note that most decongestants raise blood pressure, so if you have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, we need to prescribe carefully,” cautions Botha. 

There are effective, at-home remedies that can be included in your stay-strong plan, such as: 

Ginger tea

This is an excellent anti-inflammatory and ginseng tea is good for boosting immunity and treating upper respiratory tract infections. Green tea is a powerful antioxidant, immune booster, antibacterial and antiviral and is said to be able to kill off cold viruses and bacteria. 

Staying hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is important to stay hydrated and to loosen mucus.

Enjoying foods that heal

Eating oranges for their vitamin C is well known, but tomatoes and spinach are good sources too. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are known immune system boosters. Greek yoghurt is packed with probiotics that keep your system fighting strong, while extra-virgin olive oil is an anti-inflammatory and also helps to protect the body against disease, adds Botha.  Eggs, salmon, garlic and apples are also good supporters of a healthy immune system. 

Bonus: Chocolate is good for you!

Lastly, don’t deprive yourself of something sweet. Dark chocolate (the darker the better) contains antioxidants that boost your immunity and help alleviate a cough – just don’t overdo it.

An over-the-counter boost

To boost your immune system, there are excellent OTC vitamins and supplements that you can take. Botha recommends taking Efferflu C Immune Booster 20 Effervescent Tablets every day. Each tablet contains 1000mg of vitamin C, along with zinc and echinacea. 

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