First, I’m going to tell you to see a doctor if you want to get rid of a cold. I know, I know: the doctor can’t do anything for you—we’ve been over this. But, common cold symptoms aren’t very different from common flu symptoms.
Antiviral medication won’t help you get rid of a cold, but acetaminophen will help ease your pain. Pain medications like Tylenol, Panadol , and Dayquil are the most common treatments for colds because instead of using Aspirin to treat cold symptoms, they use acetaminophen. Some people say acetaminophen doesn’t work as well as Aspirin, but if you consider the consequences (Reye syndrome) of giving Aspirin to a child when they have the flu, you’ll understand why doctors prefer Tylenol.
Antihistamines are a good cold treatment if you’re having sinus pain and congestion. Antihistamines like Benadryl, Allegra, and Claritin will help keep inflammation of the sinuses and other related cold symptoms down, while decongestants like Sudafed will keep your nose from plugging and dripping so much. There are combination medicines like Claritin D, Allegra D, and Sudafed Plus that contain both antihistamines and decongestants.
Expectorants and humidifiers can help you get rid of a cold. Expectorants are medicines that help breakup the phlegm in your lungs so you can cough it up, and breath easier. Robitussin Severe Congestion Liqui-Gels, Vicks 44E, and Extra Action Cough Syrup are good over-the-counter expectorants. Couple these medicines with a humidifier and some eucalyptus oil and you should start to feel less of the cold in your lungs.
The single most important cold treatment to help you get rid of a cold is fluid intake. Keep yourself hydrated with sports drinks. Every time I’ve been to the hospital or the clinic, the doctor has told me (and my father too) that sports drinks are the best hydrating formulas you can buy. Why? Because they have electrolytes like potassium, sodium, and chloride which help your body absorb the fluids. The sugars also help give your body energy it might be losing from a lack of food.