13 Cold and Cough Relief Home Remedies

By Jenny Steadman, Family Wellness publisher November 6, 2018

These statements are not medically approved and shouldn't take the place of your doctor's advice. They are home remedies that many people claim have helped relieve the effects of a winter cold.

The seasons are changing which means ... it's cold season! Kids are coming home from school with snotty noses that seem to last forever. 

Often, you just have to wait out the cold until it's gone, but that doesn't mean you have to suffer the effects of it the entire time. 

Here are 13 home remedies that can help relieve cold symptoms like sinus pressure, running noses, coughs, and headaches:

Saline Spray

A simple spray of over-the-counter saline solution can help with congestion that is deep in the sinuses.

Neti Pot

Need something more than a saline spray? Neti pot it is! This really clears out the sinuses and is completely medicine-free.

Cough Drops 

There are many different cough drops on the market that can relieve a sore throat. If you're in a pinch, a peppermint will help too. Look for cough drops that contain echinacea and zinc for a boost to your immune system.


Never take menthol internally, but rubbing some on your chest and/or under your nose can relieve a cough and runny nose faster than most things. Some people even rub it on their feet!

Chicken Broth

It is not a coincidence that people make chicken noodle soup for the sick. The heat of chicken broth warms the body, but it also has healing properties. Chicken broth is a great way to get nutrients when you don't have an appetite.


Honey is a great natural substitute for cough drops. It coats the throat for instant relief. There are even studies that show manuka honey is the best for healing.

Ginger and Lemon

These easy-to-find flavors are simple additions that help boost your immune system.

Saltwater Gargle 

Gargling with saltwater has proven to relieve the discomfort of a sore throat.

Eliminate Dairy 

Dairy can build mucus in the body. Even if you are dairy-tolerant, try eliminating dairy from your diet for a week to help ease congestion.


Adding moisture to the air will help with both a sore throat and congestion. The easiest way to use a humidifier is to put one in your bedroom while you sleep.

Hydration and Rest

When your body is hydrated, it works at its best. When you rest, your body has time to heal. The more you hydrate and the more you rest, the more efficiently your body can heal.

Vitamin D

Ask your doctor for a vitamin D check, especially if you live in the northern hemisphere. It is a simple blood test and if you are deficient, ask your doctor how much you should take. Low vitamin D definitely affects your ability to fight off illnesses.


If you are congested, keep your head elevated! Laying down makes sinuses drain, which is not what you need when you are trying to rest. While sleeping at an angle (or even sitting up), seems impossible, it's also impossible to sleep when you can't breathe correctly. Give it a try!

If cold symptoms last longer than 2 weeks, contact your doctor. You may have a sinus infection or they may want to see you to make sure it's nothing more serious. Know that coughs can linger for weeks or longer, even once your cold is gone.

This story was originally featured in our monthly Macaroni Kid Family Wellness newsletter. Interested in helping your family get healthier? Check out Family Wellness and subscribe to the free monthly newsletter!

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