5 Cold and Flu Remedies You Should Avoid

When you’re feeling under the weather, all you want is to get better as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, not all cold and flu remedies are created equal. In fact, some of them can actually do more harm than good. Here are 5 cold and flu remedies you should avoid.

1. Antibiotics

One of the most common cold and flu remedies people turn to is antibiotics. However, antibiotics only work against bacterial infections—not viral infections like the common cold or flu. Not only are antibiotics ineffective against viruses, but they can also lead to side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and rashes.

2. Decongestants

Decongestants are another popular remedy for cold and flu symptoms. However, they can actually make your symptoms worse by causing dehydration and making your nose more congested when you stop taking them. If you do choose to use a decongestant, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and follow the directions on the package carefully.

3. Mega-doses of vitamins

It’s true that vitamins are important for a strong immune system. However, taking large doses of vitamins C, E, and A will not help prevent or treat a cold or flu—and it could actually be harmful. Stick to a healthy diet and regular multivitamin supplement to get the nutrients you need without overdoing it.

4. “Natural” remedies

There are many so-called “natural” remedies out there that claim to cure the common cold or flu—but there is no evidence that they actually work. From chicken soup to echinacea, these remedies may provide some relief from symptoms but they will not speed up your recovery time. Save your money and stick with proven treatments like rest, fluids, and pain relievers.

5. Breathing treatments

Breathing treatments are sometimes prescribed for people with severe asthma or other respiratory conditions. However, these treatments will not help if you have a cold or the flu—and they can actually make your symptoms worse by irritating your airways. If you have asthma or another respiratory condition, talk to your doctor about the best way to manage your symptoms during a cold or flu outbreak.


There’s no shortage of cold and flu remedies out there—but that doesn’t mean they’re all effective (or safe). Before reaching for antibiotics, decongestants, mega-doses of vitamins, or “natural” cures, remember that some of these remedies can actually make your symptoms worse. Stick with proven treatments like rest, fluids, and pain relievers for the best chance at a speedy recovery.

Author Profile

The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.