There is no cure for the common cold, but there are ways to both manage and shorten its duration. As soon as I feel the first symptom of a cold, whether it is sneezing multiple times a day, or feeling a scratchiness upon swallowing, I do the following.
1) I begin taking Zicam, a Zinc and Echinacea combination that works to fight the virus that is causing the cold. It shortens the duration of the cold and reduces its symptoms.
2) I rinse my nasal passages and cavity with saline dissolved in distilled water, (the water MUST be distilled), which is dispensed through a Neti Pot. Most people I know roll their eyes or cringe at the thought of placing the spout into the nasal opening and tipping the head to one side so that the water passes up one side of your nose and out the other. I know for a fact that it works and helps reduce the symptoms of congestion and even reduce the chances of the cold developing into a sinus infection.
3) I begin taking 12 hour Sudafed so that I can breathe easily and not feel so congested.
4) If my throat is irritated, I use Ricola, which I find pleasant tasting and effective.
5) As part of my usual daily Vitamin regimen, I take 1000 mg. of Vitamin C.