10 Cold and Flu Remedies that Really Work

The Editors at Sharecare
There may not be a cure for a cold or flu, but there is relief.
There may not be a cure for a cold or flu, but there is relief.

Aches. Sniffles. Fever. Yep, cold and flu season is in full swing. When you're sick, you just want to feel better, fast. There's no cure for a cold or flu, but we've got 10 home remedies that help ease your symptoms.

Not sure if you have a cold or the flu? Take this quiz.

Hot Tea with Honey

Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated, and make sure they're hot. Black tea helps soothe a sore throat and chase away the chills with a good dose of virus-fighting interferon. Add a dollop of antioxidant-rich honey and a squeeze of lemon for vitamin C.

Orange Juice

Crave OJ when you're sick? It's full of vitamin C, which may shorten a cold's duration of and work as a natural decongestant. Aim for 500 mg of vitamin C four times a day. A cup of orange juice has 124 mg. Other good sources: strawberries, tomatoes, and broccoli.

Hot Peppers

Hot peppers contain capsaicin, the compound that gives chiles their kick and acts as a decongestant to help relieve a stuffy nose. Can't stand the heat? Mild bell peppers can help, too. They don't have capsaicin, but they're full of virus-fighting vitamin C.

Chicken Soup

Grandma was right -- a bowl of chicken soup does make you feel better when you're sick. This time-tested remedy contains cysteine, an amino acid that's chemically similar to a bronchitis drug to help reduce inflammation. The salty broth also helps thin mucus, and the protein in the chicken helps you produce disease-fighting antibodies

Make a pot of this sniffle-soothing chicken soup when you're under the weather.

Garlic and Ginger

Both can offer potent cold and flu relief. Garlic helps bolster your immune system to squelch an infection, while ginger helps tame nausea. Add a little ginger and garlic to your chicken soup to boost its cold- and flu-fighting power.


There's a reason why you feel better after taking a hot shower or sit over a bowl of steaming water with a towel over your head. The steam shrinks the mucus membranes in your nose and throat, and encourages mucus to drain, which eases congestion.

Neti Pot

Think of a neti pot as a genie's lamp that performs sinus-clearing magic. Fill it with warm saltwater (use noniodized salt). Then stand over a sink, tilt your head to one side, and slowly pour the liquid through one nostril and allow it to stream out the other - along with a lot of gunk.

Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen

Fighting a fever? Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help bring it down safely. If your fever stays above 103 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours (especially in children), contact your doctor.

Take this quiz to find out which pain reliever is best for you.


Whole grains, like oatmeal, contain selenium, zinc, and beta glucan to help support your immune system and fend off infection. Add a generous dollop of yogurt - its probiotics may help keep a virus from settling into your respiratory system.

Nasal Decongestant Spray

A nasal spray can help ease congestion. But don't overdo it. Using a nasal decongestant spray for more than three days can cause a rebound effect with even worse congestion.

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