Colds are inevitable as the weather gets colder and winter looms. The familiar symptoms of a cold often begin with a sore, dry throat, followed by coughing, sneezing, runny nose, blocked nose, and headaches.
The common cold lasts for between five and seven days and there is no cure, as the viruses that cause colds keep changing. Antibiotics don't target viruses and aren't effective against colds. So if you come down with a cold, don't go to your doctor expecting a prescription for antibiotics. However, antibiotics might be prescribed to combat a secondary chest or sinus bacterial infection.
Colds are not a problem for healthy people. Look after your immune system and let nature take its course.
To help recover from a cold:
- Rest in bed
- Drink plenty of water
- Don't smoke
Cold or Flu?
Like colds, flu is caused by viruses and spread through coughing and sneezing. But influenza is more serious than a cold, and has more severe symptoms. It often comes on quickly, with aching muscles and a high fever, and can last for several weeks.
You can guard against getting the flu through a vaccination. Read our health advice about flu vaccinations, and come in to see us to get immunised!
Relieving Cold Symptoms
While medicines can't cure a cold, they can ease the distress of being ill. Our pharmacists can help you choose the right medicine for your symptoms, including lozenges or gargles for sore throats, cough suppressants to relieve a dull irritating cough, and medicines to treat headaches and fever.
Do not give cough and cold medicines to children under six years of age. They aren’t always effective, and can cause harm. Children with colds should be allowed to rest, made to feel comfortable, and be given plenty of fluids.