Immune Health

How to Get Rid of a Cold: Fighting the 5 Cold Symptoms

How to Get Rid of a Cold: Fighting the 5 Cold Symptoms

The common cold might be harmless in most cases, but it can certainly be disruptive. If you’re coughing, sniffling or sneezing, you might be wondering how to get rid of a cold quickly so you can get back to your daily routine. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can help fight cold symptoms.

What is a Common Cold?

The common cold is a viral illness that affects the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat and upper airways). It is the most common cause of sickness in both adults and children,¹ hence the name. There are over 200 different viruses that can cause the common cold and it is easily spread through sneezing, coughing and hand contact, especially in classrooms, workplaces and homes. On average, adults experience 2 to 4 colds each year, mostly through the colder seasons.² This is due to spending more time indoors in close proximity to one another and because in cold, dry weather our nasal passages become drier and more susceptible to infection.³

What are the Common Symptoms of a Cold?¹ ³

Five of the most common cold symptoms include:

  • Phlegm, resulting in a stuffy or runny nose
  • Cough, usually “wet” rather than “dry”
  • Scratchy, sore throat
  • Low grade fever
  • Mild fatigue

Various combinations of achy muscles, headaches, sneezing, loss of appetite, red/watery eyes and swelling of lymph glands may also be present during a cold.

Can You Stop a Cold When you Feel it Coming on?

You usually can’t stop an oncoming cold completely, but you can certainly reduce the severity and duration of its symptoms through self-care and supplements that strengthen the body’s immune defences. Explore the 7 best vitamins for your immune system and ingredients to support your family’s immune system.

How Can You Get Rid of a Cold Fast?

The best ways to get rid of a cold quickly and feel better sooner include:

  • Getting plenty of rest while your body is trying to combat infection
  • Drinking adequate water to soothe a sore throat, thin mucous and prevent dehydration
  • Loosening congestion with warm soups and broths, or warm water with lemon and honey. Chicken soup has long been regarded as a remedy for common colds and has been shown to encourage a more effective immune response and help symptoms clear up quickly – explore our favourite recipe here
  • Staying warm
  • Diffusing essential oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint or frankincense to clear nasal passages
  • Gargling with warm, salty water Getting some fresh air and sunlight
  • Using a humidifier or sitting in a steamy bathroom for a few minutes
  • Taking a supplement with immune-strengthening ingredients such as Andrographis, Siberian Ginseng and Echinacea to help relieve and reduce the severity of the five common cold symptoms of phlegm, cough, sore throat, fever and fatigue
  • Taking a vitamin C supplement to support a healthy immune system and reduce the severity and duration of the common cold

What are the Best Supplements or Foods to Get Rid of a Cold?

The best supplement to reduce the severity and duration of a common cold is Ethical Nutrients Immune Defence. Immune Defence has been meticulously crafted to support the body’s immune defences. It is a potent formula that combines the benefits of Andrographis and Siberian Ginseng, traditionally used in Chinese medicine to relieve the five common cold symptoms. These ingredients are supported with Echinacea, zinc, turmeric and vitamin D3 to support a healthy immune system, fight illness and assist recovery.

If you’d prefer the support of a vitamin C based supplement, Ethical Nutrients Extra C combines five different forms of vitamin C to support immunity, reduce the severity and duration of common cold symptoms so you feel better sooner.

The best foods to include in your diet if you’re feeling under the weather include plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially vitamin C-rich kiwifruit, berries, capsicum, citrus and broccoli and beta-carotene-rich carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, leafy greens and rockmelon (cantaloupe). Garlic, ginger and honey also contain compounds to help manage cold symptoms.

Immune Range


What are the 4 Stages of a Cold?

The common cold usually develops and winds down over four stages:⁵ ⁶

  1. The incubation period is the time between when you get infected and when you start to experience symptoms. It can last between 12 hours and 3 days.
  2. The prodrome/early stage (days 1-3) involves the familiar feelings of an impending cold like a tickly throat, tiredness and fatigue and body aches. This is when you should activate your common cold self-care by resting, drinking plenty of water and taking your supplements (Immune Defence and Extra C) to reduce the duration and severity of your illness.
  3. The active stage (days 4-7) is when cold symptoms reach their peak. You may experience fever, congestion, runny nose, headache, sore throat, body aches and a cough. Keep up with your self-care measures and your immune supplements to help your body fight the infection and speed up your recovery.
  4. The late stage (days 8-10) is when the typical cold begins to wrap up, though sometimes a cough may persist. Still continue taking it easy, consuming immune-strengthening foods and taking specific immune supplements to ensure you recover properly.

Does Vitamin C Help with a Cold?

Yes, vitamin C has been shown in clinical studies to help shorten the amount of time that you’re ill with the common cold by about 10%. This means you’ll recover around a day quicker. People taking vitamin C have also been found to experience milder cold symptoms.

What Foods Should You Avoid if You Have a Cold?

There are certain foods and drinks which aren’t the best choices when you have a common cold. These include caffeinated beverages and alcohol, which can dehydrate the body and affect your sleep (which is essential for your recovery) as well as ultra-processed foods with high sugar, fat, salt and/or additives, which provide little to no benefit to your immune system. Although the evidence is inconclusive, some people may also feel better if they avoid dairy products such as cow’s milk and cheese when they’re sick. Traditionally, dairy is viewed as increasing mucous production. If you have a cold, opt for nourishing soups, broths and porridge and increase your fruit and vegetable intake instead.



  1. Department of Health. Colds. Better Health Channel. Updated 23 May 2022. Accessed 26 May 2024.
  2. Health Direct, Colds, Updated April 2022. Accessed 26 May 2024.
  3. John Hopkins Medicine. Common Cold. Updated 2024. Accessed 26 May 2024.
  4. Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Gossman GL, et al. Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Chest. 2000;118(4):1150-1157. doi:10.1378/chest.118.4.1150
  5. Cleveland Clinic. Common Cold. Updated July 2, 2023. Accessed 26 May,2024.
  6. Lung Foundation Australia. The common cold: respiratory infections. Updated 2024. Accessed May 26, 2024.
  7. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). Common colds: Research summaries – Does vitamin C prevent colds? Updated December 11, 2023. Accessed May 26, 2024.

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