COLD REMEDIES: how good are they?
Mostly cold & cough is a viral phenomenon, may be allergic also. Viruses come and invade respiratory mucosa, stay there for 3-7 days until body's immune system takes care of it. It may cause symptoms that are self limiting but even after virus leaves body, body takes time to heal cells that were invaded causing persistence of cough, sore throat even after fever gets down.
We expect decrease in fever intensity/frequency by day 3 or 4 and cough & cold by day 5 or 6, though it can last upto 1-2 weeks.
Cold remedies thicken the secretions of nose and lung airways, so may lead to worsening of cough as more power will be required to throw out thick sputum. At the same time, we prescribe mucolytics for the same. Also parents often ask me that my kid can't throw out sputum. For their information, it is actually coughed out of lungs to the throat & swallowed in tummy & passes in stool, so no worries.
Therefore cold remedies should only be used in:
1) Severe cold leading to disturbed sleep/feed or irritability
2) Ear pain
And best option is using saline nasal sprays.