The average cold can linger for 10 days, but there are doctor-approved natural cold remedies that may not only relieve symptoms but also shorten the duration of the cold — or possibly stop it in its tracks. “Early intervention is key,” says Claudia Cooke, M.D., a board-certified physician in New York City. “The sooner you try a remedy, the better the chance of it being effective.”
Since a cold is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not make a difference. You also want to be sure you recognize cold versus flu symptoms. “The earliest signs are usually a scratchy or sore throat, then nasal stuffiness, sneezing, and coughing. A low-grade fever or fatigue may also be present,” says Monique Tello, M.D., a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and author of Healthy Habits for Your Heart. “A deeply productive cough, shortness of breath, high fever, or muscle aches suggest it’s something more serious. Then you should see a doctor.” But when you feel the familiar stuffy, scratchy signs of a cold, these natural cold remedies are nothing to sneeze at.