Colds. Tricky little chaps. The viruses that cause them keep changing, so getting one doesn’t give you immunity from the next. That’s why there is no 'cure' for the common cold. And antibiotics don’t work against viruses. Best bet is to tackle the symptoms and wait to feel better.
- Keep warm, rest and allow your body to fight the virus.
- Drink plenty of fluids – water and juices can help cool a fever.
- Sleep with your head on a high pillow if your nose is stuffed up at night.
- Try steam inhalation as a simple, effective way to help ease congestion. Adding menthol to the hot water may help.
- Use a tissue to catch sneezes and help avoid spreading the virus.
- Try to do too much – your body will be fighting the virus and so you may feel tired more easily than usual.
- Smoke, as this can further irritate the linings of the nose and throat.
- Close your windows (fresh air is good for your immune system).
- Drink alcohol as this will dehydrate you and may interact with any medicines you are taking.
See your GP if:
- The symptoms are not relieved by over-the-counter medicines.
- Symptoms become worse or persist for more than 14 days.
- Symptoms recur frequently or seem continuous.
- There is a high fever (above 38.5°C).
- You have persistently painful, swollen glands or difficulty with swallowing.
- You have difficulty with breathing or inability to swallow.
- You feel chest pains.
- Symptoms are unusual (particularly in infants).
- A rash is present.
- You have a stiff neck.
- You have earache.