Cold & Flu Advice

Feeling under the weather?

Colds and flu share many of the same symptoms, but they're caused by different viruses. Flu is more serious, but if you're generally fit and healthy you can manage the symptoms of cold or flu without seeing your GP.

Colds develop gradually over a few days, and you're most contagious at the early stage when you have a sore throat and runny nose. You should begin to feel better after a few days, although some colds can last for 2 weeks.

Flu normally comes on quicker than a cold and symptoms are more severe, however you should feel better after a week or two.

Pharmacists can help to advise you on the best medicine to take for colds or flu. They may recommend decongestant sprays or painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Remember not to use cough or cold medicines if you're taking paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets as it’s easy to take more than the recommended dose. Seek medical help if you have a chronic condition, or if you have a very high fever as well as an unusually severe headache or abdominal or chest pain.

Take a look at NHS Choices for more information.

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