How to Get Rid of a Cold in 24 Hours

When your immune system is fighting off an infection, it needs energy, so it’s important to rest and avoid stress. Also, the immune system works more efficiently when you are hotter – this is why the body produces a fever to fight off an infection – so keep warm and take warm baths. Eat well, but don’t eat too much; conserve your energy for fighting the infection. So let’s continue our guide if you want to get rid of a cold within 24 hours.

Act fast. Viruses survive by breaking into your body’s cells and reprogramming those cells to make more viruses. By acting quickly in the first 24 hours, you can get rid of cold fast. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

There’s some evidence that those who supplement probiotics on a regular basis recover from colds faster.

How to Get Rid of a Cold

Top 5 Medicine Solutions on How to Get Rid of a Cold Virtually Overnight


1.Take-High Dose Vitamin C

Taking 1000mg or 2,000mg of vitamin C every day will shorten the duration, and lessen the symptoms of a cold or flu if you catch one, but what really works is to increase your blood level of vitamin C dramatically, and keep it high until the cold or flu has gone. This means taking 2,000mg immediately you get the first symptoms, then 1000mg an hour until the cold has gone (usually within 24 hours and often within 12 hours).

You could take 2,000mg every two hours, or even 3,000mg every three hours (during the night, for example, the latter is more practical). The point is to keep drip-feeding enough vitamin C into your bloodstream to keep the level consistently high. Vitamin C passes out of the body in four to six hours.

'I used to have . . . '
‘I used to get cold and flu all the time, and would often take more than a week to recover. Since following your recommendations I haven’t had a single cold all winter, even though many people in my office have. If I get the first signs of a cold, I just increase my intake of vitamin C,’ says Mary.

Solgar Vitamin C

The effectiveness of vitamin C is increased when it is taken with other antioxidants and immune-boosting nutrients. It also has fewer side effects.

The trick is to start taking vitamin C as soon as you get the first hints of the cold – perhaps a sore throat or feeling blocked up. If you wait too long, it is less effective. In a study of students, those given 1000mg of vitamin C every hour for six hours during the first day of a cold reported 85 per cent fewer cold symptoms than those taking decongestants and painkillers.

Vitamin C, in high doses, has been well proven to be nontoxic in both adults and children even if taken over many years; however, it does cause loose bowels. The best dose is the level just below ‘bowel tolerance’, which means the maximum level you can take before it causes loose bowels. Everyone is different in this respect, so it’s best to just try it and find your own way. There is no harm in having high doses for a few days.

When all the cold and flu symptoms have gone, don’t suddenly cut it out completely. Have, for example, 4,000mg spread over the next day, then reduce to 2,000mg a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It is proven that vitamin C can prevent cold.

Some vitamin C tablets contain other immune-friendly nutrients for extra effect. You can use effervescent vitamin C, but this becomes expensive at high doses. You can also buy pure ascorbic acid powder and mix it with water and a little juice for taste, then drink it throughout the day. There is a form of lypo spheric vitamin C which enables you to absorb a little more before reaching ‘bowel tolerance. If you are very sensitive to vitamin C, this would be worth trying.

It is also important to increase your intake of foods that are high in antioxidants, such as carrots, berries and cherries. Read more If you also develop a sore throat and how to get rid of it.

2. Increase Your Intake of Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that most of us are relatively deficient in. It is found in the ‘seeds’ of things – from eggs to nuts, seeds and beans. It is also high in meat and fish. (The immune system also needs more protein when under attack.) The ideal intake is about 15mg a day. Most people achieve half of this from the diet. Thus a good daily multivitamin and mineral supplement should provide an additional 10mg to help ensure an optimal intake every day.

Zinc, in much higher doses of 50-100mg a day, has also proved to be significantly anti-viral. It is available in lozenges for coughs and colds which help to reduce the duration of the symptoms. Supplementing this amount of zinc has been shown to make the body’s T cells much more effective, hence boosting immunity. Some vitamin C supplements contain a small amount of zinc, so if, for example, one contains 1000mg of vitamin C and 3mg of zinc, and you take 1, 000mg an hour, you will be taking close to 50mg zinc over 24 hours. This is effective.

Vitamin C 1200mg & Zinc 40mg

3. Take Black Elderberry Extract

Viruses get into body cells by puncturing their walls with tiny spikes made of a substance called haemagglutinin. According to research by virologist Madeleine Mumcuoglu (working with Dr Jean Linderman, who discovered interferon), an extract of elderberry disarms these spikes by binding to them and preventing them from penetrating the cell membrane. Mumcuoglu found a significant improvement in symptoms – fever, cough, muscle pain – in 20 per cent of patients within 24 hours, and in a further 73 per cent of patients within 48 hours.

After three days, 90 per cent had complete relief of their symptoms compared to another group on a placebo, who took at least six days to recover. In another double-blind controlled trial, elderberry extract cut recovery time in those with influenza by four days

Nature's Answer Black Elderberry Extract

4. Take Echinacea

This root of the plant Echinacea purpurea is probably the most widely used immune-boosting herb. It possesses interferon-like properties, which are part of the body’s natural defence against infections, and is an effective anti-viral agent against flu and herpes. It contains special kinds of polysaccharides, such as inulin, which increase macrophage production, which are the immune cells that destroy bugs. Echinacea is best taken either as capsules of the powdered herb (2,000mg a day), or as drops of a concentrated extract (usually 20 drops three times a day).

Echinaforce Echinacea Tablets

Echinaforce Echinacea Drops

5. Increase Your Vitamin D Level

Keep your vitamin D level up, especially during the winter. Vitamin D is a very important immune-boosting vitamin. Although some foods contain vitamin D, such as oily fish and eggs, it is primarily made in the skin in the presence of sunlight. If you rarely go outside, exposing your skin to direct sunlight, your body won’t make any vitamin D. During the winter, most people’s vitamin D levels drop quite substantially, leaving their immune systems vulnerable. In one study of 19,000 people, those with the lowest average levels of vitamin D were about 4o % more likely to have had a recent respiratory infection, compared to those with higher vitamin D levels.

The minimum level needed for optimal health is about 30mcg a day, although some experts in vitamin D say this is too low. If you expose your body to moderate sunlight for 30 minutes a day, and eat eggs and, especially, oily fish such as mackerel, you might achieve 15mcg. There is, therefore, a good case to supplement 15mcg, especially if you live in the UK or equivalent. The recommended daily allowance (RDA), which is desperately out of date, is a mere 5mcg.

Vitamin D 4,000 IU

Vitamin D3 Drops of 1000 IU

There are two forms of vitamin D: D3 is the natural form, found in foods such as fish and eggs, and made by the skin when exposed to sunlight. It is a more effective form of vitamin D, is derived from plants and can substitute for D3 in the human body, although not as effectively. In the winter, if you live in northern Europe, for example, it is worth boosting your vitamin D intake with one or two vitamin D drops a day. These should provide 25mcg per drop.

Taking 50mcg a day for a month should build up your vitamin D stores for the winter. Then cut back to one drop, 25mcg. A good multivitamin can provide 15mcg. You will need more if you rarely get outdoors with your skin exposed, and/or have dark skin, and/or live far north (or south) during the winter months when the angle of the sun means less intensity.

Best foods

  • Ginger (use in juice and teas and to soothe sore throats)
  • Chicken soup
  • Carrots and carrot juice
  • Water (drink lots)
  • Berries
  • Montmorency cherry juice (Cherry Active)
  • Fish/beans (pulses) for protein
  • Raw nuts and seeds

Worst foods

  • Dairy products (often mucus forming)
  • Sugar and refined foods
  • Too many carbs, such as lots of bread and cereals 

Best Supplements

  • 1,000mg vitamin C every hour (ideally one with zinc and berry extracts)
  • 10 drops of echinacea every 2 hours
  • 1 teaspoon, or equivalent, of black elderberry extract every 2 hours
  • 1 x high-potency multivitamin-mineral with 15mcg of vitamin D and 10mg zinc
  • 1 x 1000iu (25mcg) vitamin D a day during the winter (for immune protection rather than immediate effect)


Vitamin C, in high doses, can cause loose bowels, or even diarrhoea. This is not as dangerous as such, as long as you keep hydrated. It is, however, ideal to consume less than the amount that gives you extremely loose bowels. This also means you will need to decrease your daily dose down to 1,000-2,000mg a day once you are better.

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