Right now, doctors’ offices and drug stores aren’t the only ones seeing a steady flow of patients.
Businesses that offer an alternative to treating colds are busy too.
“We have been incredibly busy,” Lauren Croughan, a buyer for The Only Earth Natural Foods in High Point, said.
Many customers are going straight to the immune section looking for options outside of over-the-counter drugs.
“The most popular remedy right now is elderberry syrup,” Croughan said.
“[You} take it like any standard cough syrup. Some people add it to teas, but for the most part, you can take it straight,” she said.
Croughan says honey is also good to soothe a sore throat but suggests raw or local honey.
When it comes to soothing a sore throat and staying hydrated, people often turn to soup.
Wonton, egg drop, and hot and sour fly out the door at Chinese restaurant Golden Wok in Greensboro.
“Usually, we go through about two to three pots each day and each pot is about a gallon or two each,” Eddie Shi, who works the front of the house, said.
For years, it has been debated if soup really does help with a cold, but there is existing research that some soups can help you feel better.
“It’s good for colds because of the chicken broth and there's the old tale about how chicken broth is good,” Shi said.
“Hot and sour is extra good because the spice gets your sinuses going,” he added.
Aromatherapist Cynthia Loving says certain oils can help ease congestion.
“[They’ve been] tested and shown to be very effective for things like a sore throat, a cough, laryngitis and opening the airways again,” Loving said.
An oil diffuser can help spread the scent in a room.
“That way you don't have to put them on you if you choose not to do that,” Loving said.
If using oils, it’s best to consult with a professional.
Loving says there are some that are too strong for children.
It’s also important to remember that some products that you would find at a natural food store may not be regulated by a government agency.
It’s best to consult with a doctor to make sure any kind of treatment is safe for your individual needs.