10 Remedies That Do Absolutely Nothing to Treat the Common Cold

The overuse of antibiotics is contributing to the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. ©Hemera/Thinkstock

The problem with treating your cold with a round of antibiotics is this: Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, but colds are not caused by bacteria. Colds are caused by viruses, more than two hundred varieties of them. Antibiotics won't help at all.

In fact, they may be harmful. Taking antibiotics when they aren't needed or helpful is adding to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, making it more difficult to treat you with antibiotics when you do indeed have a bacterial infection. They can also cause a host of unpleasant side effects, such as yeast infections and diarrhea.

Sometimes, other conditions look a lot like a common cold, at least at first, including ear infections, strep throat and pneumonia -- these are actually bacterial infections, and should be treated with antibiotics. Other times, bacterial infections, such as a sinus infection, may develop after a cold, so if your cold symptoms don't get better after about one week to 10 days, see your physician.

Author's Note: 10 Remedies That Do Absolutely Nothing to Treat the Common Cold

When I found out I'd be writing about this topic I woke up with a cold. Very funny, universe. So how disappointed was I to find out that studies prove vitamin C won't help prevent catching the common cold, nor shorten it by more than a few hours. All those colds, and all that orange juice. What a sham. Echinacea, too. As effective as a placebo. It turns out, though, I did find some good news in the world of cold relief: During my discovery and research process I learned that instead of running out to the store for orange juice, nasal saline or echinacea, very recent and very preliminary findings suggest probiotics may be the new trend in cold-relieving remedies. My fingers remain crossed for this one.

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