Care at Home
HOME CARE ADVICE
General Instructions for Treating a Cold
- For a Runny Nose With Profuse Discharge: Blow the Nose.
- For a Stuffy Nose - Use Nasal Washes:
- Introduction: Saline (salt water) nasal irrigation is an effective and simple home remedy for treating cold symptoms and other conditions involving the nasal and sinus passages. Nasal irrigation consists of pouring, spraying, or squirting salt water into the nose and then letting it run back out.
- How it Helps:The salt water rinses out excess mucus, washes out any irritants (dust, allergens) that might be present, and moisturizes the nasal cavity.
- Methods: There are several ways to perform nasal irrigation. You can use a saline nasal spray bottle (available over-the-counter), a rubber ear syringe, a medical syringe without the needle, or a Neti Pot.
- Step 1: Lean over a sink
- Step 2: Gently squirt or spray warm salt water into one of your nostrils.
- Step 3: Some of the water may run into the back of your throat. Spit this out. If you swallow the salt water it will not hurt you.
- Step 4: Blow your nose to clean out the water and mucus.
- Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4 for the other nostril. You can do this a couple times a day if it seems to help you.
- How to Make Saline (Salt Water) Nasal Wash: Add 1/2 tsp of table salt to 1 cup (8 oz) of warm water.
- Treatment for Associated Symptoms of Colds:
- Humidifier: If the air in your home is dry, use a cool mist humidifier
- Expected Course:
- Call Your Doctor If:
Pain and Fever Medicines:
- For pain relief, take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxin.
- Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol):
- Take 650 mg by mouth every 4-6 hours. Each Regular Strength Tylenol pill has 325 mg of acetaminophen.
- Another choice is to take 1,000 mg every 8 hours. Each Extra Strength Tylenol pill has 500 mg of acetaminophen.
- The most you should take each day is 3,000 mg.
- Ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin, Advil):
- Take 400 mg by mouth every 6 hours.
- Another choice is to take 600 mg by mouth every 8 hours.
- Use the lowest amount that makes your pain feel better.
- Naproxen(e.g., Aleve):
- Take 250-500 mg by mouth every 12 hours.
- Use the lowest amount that makes your pain feel better
- Acetaminophen is thought to be safer than ibuprofen or naproxen in people over 65 years old. Acetaminophen is in many OTC and prescription medicines. It might be in more than one medicine that you are taking. You need to be careful and not take an overdose. An acetaminophen overdose can hurt the liver.
- Before taking any medicine, read all the instructions on the package.
Mineral and Vitamin and Herbal Supplements
- Some studies have reported that zinc gluconate lozenges (i.e., Cold-Eeze) may reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms.
- Dosage: Taken by mouth. Follow package instructions. You should take this with food to minimize the chance of nausea.
- Side Effects: Some people complain of nausea and a bad taste in their mouth when they take zinc.
- Important Note about Zicam: A zinc nasal gel (i.e., Zicam) is also available over-the-counter. There have been a number of lawsuits claiming that Zicam causes loss of smell (anosmia); it is uncertain whether this truly happens, but for now you should not use this medicine.
- Vitamin C:
- A number of experts, including Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, have promoted taking high doses of this vitamin as a treatment for the common cold.
- Research to date shows that Vitamin C has minimal (if any) effect on the duration or degree of cold symptoms. Thus, it cannot be recommended as a treatment.
- Vitamin C is probably harmless in standard doses (less than 2 gms daily).
- Echinacea: There is no proven benefit of using this herbal remedy in treating or preventing the common cold. In fact, current research suggests that it does not help.
- Read the package instructions thoroughly on all supplements that you take.
- Neti Pot
- Neti Pot STEP-BY-STEP Instructions:
- Step 1: Follow the directions on the salt package to make warm salt walter.
- Step 2: Lean forward and turn your head to one side over the sink. Keep your forehead slightly higher than your chin.
- Step 3: Gently insert the spout of the neti pot into the higher nostril. Put it far enough so that it forms a comfortable seal.
- Step 4: Raise the Neti Pot gradually so the salt water flows in through your higher nostril and out of the lower nostril. Breathe through your mouth.
- Step 5: When the Neti Pot is empty, blow your nose to clean out the water and mucus.
- Step 6: Some of the water may run into the back of your throat. Spit this out. If you swallow the salt water it will not hurt you.
- Step 7: Refill the Neti Pot and repeat on the other side. Again, exhale vigorously to clear the nasal passages.
- How to Make Saline (Salt Water) Nasal Wash:
And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.