If you are interested in natural remedies, you should check out this very comprehensive post covering many ailments. I was particularly interested in the link to 5 simple remedies, and tried three of them this past winter: 1) Mixing eucalyptus essential oil with a little olive oil for a homemade version of Vick's, 2) Making hummus with fresh garlic to take advantage of the garlic's immune boosting properties, and 3) Chopping an onion. According to Stephanie, the fumes offer much of an onion's healing potential, and one night when I was really congested, I even tried her suggestion of placing a small bowl of chopped onion beside the bed. I'm not sure if it helped, but I was willing to try pretty much anything at that point! Another onion remedy is this homemade cough syrup which I plan to try sometime (though hopefully not soon!)
Hydration is very important in combating colds, and I know it sounds kind of gross but you need to keep your nasal passages moist to help avoid infections. To help with this, I tried a neti pot for the first time this year. (I got mine free through an on-line offer.) Yes, it's a bit strange, but it really is effective--this post offers helpful information for trying one. I also run the humidifier every night from late fall to early spring, and I use a saline solution most nights before bed.
For prevention, I'm also a big fan of Emergen-C. Whenever I feel a cold coming on, I drink 1-2 glasses each day. It may seem a little pricey when buying a box, but at 25-30 cents a serving, I consider that money well spent if we avoid doctor or prescription costs! In addition, when I have even a tinge of a sore throat, I use these throat drops, and I also gargle with salt water.
What are your tips for preventing and treating colds?