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2. Colds, Sore Throats and Flu


Colds and flu are viral illnesses, which do not need treatment with antibiotics.
There is no cure for colds and flu. You can only treat the symptoms. The virus will last for 7 days or more. Antibiotics make no difference and can make you feel worse.

Colds
The cold is the most common winter ailment. Although it is a minor condition it can make you feel very uncomfortable.

Self-help

• Drink plenty of liquids but avoid alcohol as this causes fluid loss. Hot drinks can be soothing.
• For aches and pains, take paracetamol or aspirin according to directions. Remember, never give aspirin to children under 16 years of age.
• your pharmacist can advice on over-the-counter remedies to best treat your symptoms.
• Wash your hands regularly to reduce the spread of the virus.

Sore throat
Sore throat frequently accompanies your cold and flu symptoms.

Self-help

• Adults can gargle with soluble aspirin.
• Children under 12 should not take aspirin but paracetamol is fine.
• Suck boiled sweets or throat lozenges.


Flu
Influenza, or flu, is a viral illness.
Symptoms
• Flu usually has more severe symptoms than a cold. They might include:
• A high fever which can be accompanied by shivering and sweating
• Aching muscles
• chestiness
• Feeling and being sick
• A headache.
The fever associated with flu should disappear after 3 to 5 days but it may take weeks before you feel like yourself again and for your cough to disappear.

Self-help

• Drink plenty of liquids but avoid alcohol as this causes fluid loss. Hot drinks can be soothing.
• Take paracetamol or aspirin according to directions. Remember never give aspirin to children under 16 years of age.
• Ask your pharmacist for over-the-counter medication that would best suit your symptoms.
• To avoid spreading the virus, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze, and wash your hands regularly.
• Keep your bedroom well ventilated.
• Take it easy. Ensure that you rest and take time off work or school to make a full recovery. Your symptoms can worsen or lead to other illnesses if you do not take care of yourself.
Contact your doctor:
Call your GP for advice if you or a member of your family:
• has a temperature lasting more than 7 days
• becomes very short of breath
• coughs up blood or large amounts of yellow or green phlegm.

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