A flu remedy surrounded by tablets, a lemon and honey

Best Cold and Flu Remedies

Colds and flu are a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t help to relieve our symptoms. There are many different remedies available, but are the best cold and flu remedies?


There are many totally unproven remedies that some people state can help to relieve or even cure colds and flu. 

One very prevalent myth is that antibiotics can help to kill a cold/flu. The fact is, antibiotics are not effective against cold and flu viruses and doctors recommend that you should not take them unless you absolutely need them, as they can become ineffective in the future due to bacteria becoming more resistant.

Many people also believe that you are able to “sweat out” a cold or flu virus. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that this is the case, however there is evidence that trying to do this can actually be detrimental to your recovery. Sweating too much can cause dehydration and increasing your body temperature too much can make you become more ill.

Another myth is that drinking alcohol can help to get rid of a cold or flu. In reality, the opposite is true. Alcohol dehydrates your body and can weaken your immune system, so it is best to be avoided. 

Best Cold and Flu Remedies 

Over the counter medicines and pain killers (such as paracetamol) from your local pharmacy can help to greatly relieve the symptoms of colds and flu. Some medicines are stronger than others and can also have side effects such as drowsiness, so always make sure to read the instructions and do not take anything that you’re not supposed to. Nose sprays such as Sudafed can also help to relieve a blocked nose and allow you to breathe more easily.

Both hot and cold drinks can be great for relieving a sore throat. Keeping hydrated helps to relieve a dry throat and the feeling of a hot or cold drink can help to distract from the soreness.

Resting is very important when helping to relieve colds and flu. Your body needs the energy to fight the virus and not resting can also cause discomfort, especially if you have a fever or body aches. Resting your voice is also important when you have a sore throat, as talking can make the pain worse and you can risk losing your voice.

A surprising natural remedy is garlic. Studies suggest that it helps to boost your immune system which in turn helps to fight off cold and flu viruses. 

What if Nothing Works?

If you are experiencing extreme discomfort from having a suspected cold or flu, then you should speak with your doctor. Colds and flu viruses can be dangerous, especially to those at high risk, which includes people aged 65 and over and people with underlying health conditions. COVID-19 also presents very similar symptoms to colds and flu. For more information on what to do if you suspect that you have COVID-19, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ 


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