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Ways to Ease the Symptoms of a Cold or Sore Throat

Feel that tickle in your throat? Help your cold out with these simple remedies.

woman with a cold, laying down using remedies that ease cold symptoms


Even in today’s modern world, there is no way to cure a cold. However, there are natural ways to relieve some of the misery that comes with sore throats and stuffy noses.

Drink, drink, drink

The easiest and proven natural remedy to help a cold is staying hydrated. Not only does your body function better when it’s hydrated, drinking liquids also helps loosen congestion. Clear liquids are your best bet. Good options include:

  • Water
  • Warm water with lemon and honey
  • Warm apple juice
  • Herbal tea
  • Broth

Coffee, alcoholic, or caffeinated drinks or sodas make your dehydration worse.

Related: Five Signs You May Have the Flu

Gargle salt water

Create a homemade saline solution with ½ to ¼ teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of water. Gargling with salt water can provide relief from symptoms and can temporarily relieve a scratchy or sore throat.

Interestingly, this may be a practice you want to do regularly during flu season before you have a cold. A study showed that participants who were asked to gargle salt water three times a day for 60 days during flu season had a 40% decrease in getting an upper respiratory infection compared to the group who did not gargle.

Use ice chips to soothe

Sucking on ice chips can soothe a sore throat—similar to how a cough drop or hard candy soothes.

Use a humidifier

Adding moisture to the room can help loosen your congestion and make breathing less of a chore, but make sure you clean your humidifier regularly. The last thing your cold needs is to be breathing in mold.

Sleep with an extra pillow

Elevating your head more when you sleep helps prevent congestion in your head and chest and might help prevent you staying up all night with a stuffy nose. Consider propping yourself up with an additional pillow, or if necessary, sleep in a recliner chair to help you get a better night’s rest.

Eat broccoli

Studies show that vitamin C does not prevent a cold, but taking vitamin C before cold symptoms appear may shorten the duration. You can take a pill, but why not get it naturally in the foods you eat? Oranges, grapefruit, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and lemons are all high in vitamin C.

Related: Here's How Your Family Can Avoid Sharing a Cold or the Flu

Treat yourself to a nap

There’s just no substitute for sleep. When your body is sick, you need as much rest as you can get to fight the infection. Prioritize this over everything else on this list because it could potentially help your body the most.

While none of these will cure your cold, hopefully you’ll be able to get some relief by trying a few of these remedies.

While you’re here, check out our other articles on healthy living. For information on our medical and dental plans, visit selecthealth.org/plans.


SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider 

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Amberlee Lovell Peterson
Amberlee is a content manager, freelance writer, and designer. She is currently working on launching her own podcast and loves baby foxes.