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Cold Handout

My cold handout I give to my patients. Sinus infections need the same treatment plus antibiotics.

This is the handout I give to my patients. I would love to hear your stories and your tips.  We haven't found the cure to the common cold but there are many things we can do to support us while we have one.

Man with cold symptoms

What Is A Cold?

A cold is a viral sinus infection- “too much snot”, coughing, facial pain, sore throat, headache, ear popping or pain, pain in the sides of neck- glands feel “swollen”, coughing all night (like in the Nyquil commercials).

A chest cold is when the drainage gets into the chest.  It can feel like you have a fist in front of your chest or you can’t take in a deep breath (but it should not feel as though you are short of breath).

Studies show we treat colds too quickly as sinus infections and we are not allowing your body to heal itself.  Even mild bacterial sinusitis does NOT typically need antibiotics.  The more antibiotics that you use now, the less effective your immune system will be and the less effective the antibiotics will be as well.

What Can You Do To Relieve Symptoms?

For congestion and fever

Do the Magic Sock trick!  Sounds crazy but it works! Ideally do that epsom salt bath with apple cider vinegar in really hot water.  Get some cotton socks, run them under cold water and wring them out.  Put them on and cover with another pair of wool socks.  In the morning the socks will be dry- may need to rewet midnight for kids who sleep longer.  It helps with fever, cough,  and congestion.  Consider adding Vick’s Vapo Rub or eucalyptus oil to the feet first- works great on a cough.  I personally use RC essential oil on the feet and chest. If you have cold feet, be sure to warm them first in hot water.  You can also wrap your feet with a hot towel afterwards.

Try this for an earache

Slice an onion in half and microwave the onion until warm- not hot.  Place the onion in a sock and hold up to the ear for pain relief.  Garlic oil is also popular.

Before going to bed and when you wake in the morning try these tips:

  • Use steam from your shower or boil water with Vick’s liquid or eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil- this works great with chest colds!

  • Hot bath with epsom salt and apple cider vinegar.  Use a hand towel wet with the bath water and tent it over your nose and mouth.

  • Use Mucinex D or other behind the counter medications with pseudoephedrine. Ok to use Coricidin HBP if you are sensitive to pseudoephedrine. I am less likely to need this when I do the other tips.

  • Try Simply Saline in the white can or a Neti Pot.  Do not use the squeezy bottles of nasal spray as the preservatives can bother your sinuses and cause them to bleed. If you use a Neti pot, you can put one drop of lugol's iodine or a splash of peroxide.

  • Use a humidifier with about 1/8-1/4 cup of peroxide to it and breathe it in your nose occasionally and sit near it.

  • If SEVERE nasal congestion, okay to use Afrin nasal spray up to 3 nights.

  • When you get the chest cold where you get that tickle in the chest with a lot of cough, use Herbal Formula Phytocillin.  It tastes awful but works fast for that chest cold.

  • If thinking you may need antibiotics- make a neti pot with essential oils- 8 T neti salts, 10 drops of rosemary, 6 drops of tea tree oil.  Mix and use ½-1 tsp per neti solution, rinse twice daily, tingles a bit, can use 7-10 days

  • Tea for cough- Ginger (fresh is best)-grate the ginger and let it steep for 15 minutes and strain it. Add honey when cool enough to touch to avoid damaging the good parts of the honey. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper, lemon juice, some add Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. If you are of age, then add a shot of high proof liquor like whiskey.  Many locals use the Rock and Rye from the liquor store.  

  • Make chicken bone broth with a lot of garlic. Keep the garlic as cloves and eat the cloves!

Making Chicken Soup

“Stimulate Your Immune System!.”

Pick which ones work well for you-sometimes it is best to rotate them.

  • Probiotics- Get a good quality one and take 3-4 times the dosage for a few days and then take daily year round.

  • Echinacea- Do double the dose for up to one week.  Do not take this one for an extended amount of time since it can elevate blood pressure and avoid in autoimmune disease.

  • Emergen-C- Drink this in your water frequently when sick or Vitamin C up to 1000 mg 2-3 times per day.

  • Zinc Lozenges- There is good science behind this one!  Fights off colds quickly (but has a tendency to make food taste bad when using.

  • Elderberry syrup and astralgus have great anti-viral properties and worth alternating for prevention and using when sick.

  • During ALLERGY SEASON: Vitamin C 1000mg 3 times a day can be helpful. I like Orthomolecular's Natural D Hist that has a combo of quercitin and stinging nettle.

  • Pollen allergy: to prevent, eat a tablespoon of local raw honey every day year round (not under age 1).

  • Prevention- Get good regular sleep, eat a healthy diet high in fruits and veggies, low in simple carbs like sodas, sugars, pastas, and avoid fast foods.  Stress relief is important-consider Yoga/Tai Chi/meditation/prayer.

  • Essential Oils- The brand I use is Young Living (YL) but there are other great ones. Congestion/Cough- Eucalyptus or RC to feet and chest. Fever- Peppermint or Lavender to feet. Immune- Thieves to the feet or diffuse.  Allergies- Make capsules with Peppermint, Lavender, and Lemon -not all oils can be used internally. Oils should be diluted and avoid thieves and peppermint topically in babies

  • When exposed to others in groups or exposed to someone with a cold or flu, irrigate your sinuses frequently after exposure and also rotate using XLear nasal spray to kill viruses.

  • Most important for your health is to eat real food, avoid sugar, get plenty of sleep, manage your stress, and practice gratitude.

For more remedies check out my First Aid Kit!

Dr. Benton

Benton Integrative Medicine


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