How Do You Treat a Cold?


[ UPDATE: Voting is now closed. ]

By Gabrielle.

If I don’t get enough sleep for a few nights in a row, I can pretty much guarantee a head cold. Are you the same? I woke up with one this morning and I’m trying to nip it in the bud quickly, because it’s only the second day of our summer vacation and having a sick mom is such a downer for my kids.

Tell me, Friends: How do treat your colds? Tea with honey, a visit to your doctor, extra sleep, or over-the-counter meds? Feel free to chime in by clicking a checkmark above.

As for me, I’m nursing my third cup cup of chamomile and taking a nap. : )

P.S. — Did you have a Happy 4th of July? Check out my instagram feed if you’d like to see what we were up to.

28 thoughts on “How Do You Treat a Cold?”

  1. I hope you feel better soon! At the first symptom of a cold, we start taking echinacea extract. It needs to be strong and fresh – we found that the teas or capsules did not work for our family, but the pure extract really does work for us!

  2. Dear Gabrielle,
    Sorry you’re sick. Me too. This is the 4th day of mine. Bad “summer” cold. haha. sounds so benign. Not. The voting only allowed me one check. I wanted to check 3. Sleep more, drink more tea with honey, take whatever pills work for you. (for me Mucinex to think congestion, Vit. C, something called Reishi). only stay away from the Doc. Nothing he or she can do for a virus. I’ve also been inhaling steam and using a netty pot (to do nasal/sinus cleansing. Actually, so far, nothing has worked. Often my remedies do. But not this time. It’s a mean bug. I’ve watched a number of documentaries online, which has been interesting. and read, and slept I live alone, so it’s not so much fun. At least you have an entertainment committee at your house, who can also entertain each other when you need to rest I imagine. I love following your family’s adventures, and love what you share with us about your thoughts and suggestions. Hope you feel better soon. btw. soon we’ll be “neighbors”. I live in San Francisco. Take good care. Gayle

  3. I’d do the same, once I catch a cold: Sleep and tea, best: Tea made from fresh ginger, it’s magic. Also: to prevent a cold at stressful times I take tablets from the drugstore, it is a mixture of zinc and vitamin c. Works really well – I am sure you can get them in France or the U.S. too.
    I am from Germany and here they sell them in every shop that is selling Vitamines.

  4. that’s “thin” not “think” secretions… also Facebook friends have been wonderfully kind and helpful sending funny or inspiring videos or healing recipes. When you live alone, it’s possible people don’t even know you’re sick, so I put out the word on FB and invited people to post any kind of supportive stuff. Though it didn’t cure my cold, it helped me feel “the love”, and helped me get through several days of a bad cold sanity intact.

    You are such a great mom, and do so much with and for your kids. Seems like this is a moment for you to get pampered a little bit. Maybe this IS the activity of the first few days of summer vacation. N’est-ce pas? It’s so humbling to be sick.

    Again, wishing you all well. A speedy recovery. Gayle

  5. Echinacea drops (the ones with alcohol) are amazing. As soon as I feel a cold coming on a take some and it usually works within hours. This coming from a girl who is usually pretty dubious about natural remedies (after trying them all for years!).

    Feel better soon!

  6. Sorry you’re not feeling well. I hope it passes quickly.

    I voted tea w/ honey, but what I really do is hot water w/ honey and lemon juice. That always makes me feel better.

  7. So sorry you’re not feeling well! I also do what Amy3 suggests – hot water with half a freshly squeezed lemon, and a couple teaspoons of honey. When my 3 year old is sick, I make him this (to keep him away from dairy since that seems to make his congestion worse), and we call it “Berenstain Bear juice” – like the books. :-) For me, I usually add a teaspoon or two of cinnamon since that’s supposed to have quite a few health benefits too! Hope you get better quickly!

    p.s. I shared last month that we had also put an offer on a house in the Loire Valley! We’ve got our preliminary signing date for 7/26 and the “final act” on October 4th! Can’t wait! Hope all is going well with your lovely old cottage!

  8. Oh, what a bummer!! I was just feeling the beginning stage of a cold on Wednesday. (Same – the 3 prior days I hardly got any sleep). Here’s my go-to to nip it:
    Elderberry extract, 2 tsp every 3-4 hours
    Hot water with lemon and honey
    I take my Zyrtec
    Umcka chewable tablets
    Sleep. More sleep. On Wednesday, I took two naps.

    It seems to have worked. I’m hoping you feel MUCH better soon!! Thanks for all you share here :-).

  9. Echinacea extract, zinc, vitamin C and garlic are the home remedies I swear by but what *really* works is Accupuncture! If I feel a cold or sickness coming on I try to get myself to Accupuncture ASAP and it often stops the cold before it really starts. Not sure if that’s an option in Normandy but here in Oakland (!) it’s available at my local community Accupuncture clinic. Book online, pay $15-$40 (sliding scale) – so accessible and heavenly. When you arrive, you should check out Oakland Accupunture Project – my family’s stay-health secret :-)

  10. In addition to what everyone else has suggested (tea with honey, rest, netty pot, big doses of D, C, and zinc) I have to recommend Fisherman’s Friend drops. Don’t know if they have them in France, but wow, at the slightest sore throat, one of those little drops works really well. Summer colds are the worst, they see to last the longest. Feel better soon!

  11. I’m sick, too. :( It’s going away now but the first two days were AWFUL and felt like the flu. I tend to stock up on Kleenex and cold meds, but I always end up disappointed because cold meds don’t help!

    I take a lot of vitamin C and use a neti pot at least once a day, sometimes twice. I love my neti pot. I had to get one when I was pregnant and I swear it is a miracle worker. It’s the only thing that clears up the congestion. There’s also a recipe floating around Pinterest for some kind of lemon-ginger drink… I’ve been wanting to try that.

  12. lots of water, vitamin c, umcka, echinacea, and herbal tea with honey in it. and zicam works wonders for me. if i take it when i’m starting to get a cold, i either don’t get one or i do get one, but it’s not very bad at all.

  13. We always get a sore throat first. Last time, my husband gargled oregano oil (intense, spicy stuff) and the sore throat went away and he never got sick. The next time he was too scared to gargle it and a cold came.

  14. I have the same issue w/ sleep and colds!! It’s like a guarantee that I will get a sore throat after a few nights of sucky sleep. Lemon Zinger tea w/ honey for me and Advil Cold & Sinus (generic) gets me through the day w/ kids or work. Feel better :)

  15. Makayla Sampson

    I also get colds if I don’t get enough sleep. My husband and I make a tea with hot water, 2 to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Also, I take Advil every 4 hours for a couple of days. Advil reduces inflamation in the body. For me, its the miracle drug of over the counter medicines. I also take extra Vit. C and get more sleep than normal. I do all of the above as soon as any cold symptom starts, and these steps usually help me to feel better in just a couple of days.

  16. When I feel the first tiny hint of something coming on (for me it’s usually in my throat) I squeeze some fresh lemon juice into a glass of warm water and drink it. It seems to stop the cold before it starts. If you already have a real sore throat, however, don’t do it – it hurts! I used some of friend’s DoTerra OnGuard oil last time I felt something coming and just rubbed a little in my mouth back toward my throat (chased with water) and that worked too. But the lemon is cheap and effective!

  17. I go for a multi-prong approach: meds, tea and liquids (including gargling with warm salt water), and as much extra rest as I can get. I don’t think I get better any faster, but I feel better knowing I’ve done everything I can to take care of myself and be comfortable.

  18. We go to the chiropractor! I had a nasty head cold a while back and she massaged my sinuses, tapped them and adjusted my neck. I was so stopped up I had a bad head ache from it but it totally went away after only two visit. With the help of course of many an herbal tea and eating right as has been recommended above. But just do your research if you go herbal find the proper dosage for herbs, and how to take it, what to avoid (sugars, dairy, fatty foods even OJ ) all are counter productive to any natural remedies.

  19. I have this tonic recipe ( that knocks it out in a few hours. The key is to have it on hand and then start taking it at the first sign of a cold. If you start in the morning the cold is gone in the evening. If I feel a cold coming on, I take 1 oz. in the morning and 1 oz. in the evening. The next day ~ cold gone. It won’t work for this cold, but it will surely help when the next one strikes.

  20. Pingback: How Do You Treat a Cold? | Short Cut Blog

  21. April Coulson

    We don’t get colds since we started using essential oils! They are 50 times more powerful than herbs and they can pass through cell walls to where viruses reside (abx cannot do that!) At the first sign we just put one drop of doTerra Breathe or OnGuard essential oil blend in our hands, rub together, and inhale. You could also put a few drops in a diffuser. Works like a charm!

  22. As soon as I feel a cold coming on, I go to Smoothie King and get the Immunity Booster strawberry banana smoothie – 32 oz. It tastes amazing and it always prevents my cold from worsening. : )

  23. Urgh – nothing worse than head colds in summer. Top tip from me would be a saltwater inhaller! Place boiling water into a large bowl, add salt and lean over the bowl with the a towel drapped over the back of your head to create a steam tent of sorts, inhale deeply 3 times, come up for a breather and to more than likely have to cough/blow your nose and repeat a few times. Hope it helps and wishing you a speedy recovery.

  24. For me, lots of water, hot tea with honey, and Benedryl. The Benedryl relieves itchy throat which helps keep coughing fits at bay.

  25. Tea and honey for me please :) And, after I found a mommy meteorologist who loves talking about humidifiers, I added a small humidifier into the equation and happy to say it works like a charm. It reduced my recovery time to just like 3 or 4 days. I use it during the night, and feel much better in the morning, even when I don’t have a cold, for example during the winter when the heating kicks in and the air becomes dry. You can find some of her advice here: she will open up your eyes moms :)

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