Helpful head cold remedies include increased fluid intake to soothe the throat and thin out mucus congestion, saline nasal sprays or rinses to minimize stuffiness and steam treatments, according to WebMD. Gargling with salt water and applying mentholated ointments below the nose can also ease symptoms.
Over-the-counter cold medications that contain decongestants may help to minimize cold symptoms and treat congestion, but it is important to only utilize these treatments for short periods of time, as overuse can exacerbate symptoms, explains Mayo Clinic. Cold sufferers may also find relief by taking antihistamine medications that help to treat symptoms of sneezing and excessive nasal secretions.
In many instances, head colds resolve on their own and don't require medical treatment. However, it is important for individuals to consult with a physician if symptoms are accompanied by a high fever or swollen lymph nodes, as this can indicate a bacterial infection or influenza, states Healthline. It is also imperative for cold sufferers to seek medical attention if symptoms are persistent after 20 days or if they experience chest pain or intense sinus pain. While coughing often accompanies head colds, coughs that produce blood or become worse when the patients lies down should also be diagnosed by a physician.