Bring the heat on the common cold

8 August 2019

woman with sore throat checks her temperature

It’s not uncommon to hear people say they have ‘the flu’ when in fact it’s more likely they actually have a bad cold.

While very uncomfortable, colds normally only last a few days and are not usually serious but they can lead to other infections, especially in children.

A cold is a viral infection that affects the nose, ears and throat and can be caused by more than 200 different types of virus.

A cold usually mean you get a combination of:

  • runny or blocked nose
  • sore throat
  • fever (occasionally)
  • headache
  • cough
  • sneezing.

Colds are easily spread and can survive for up to 18 hours in the outside environment. Coughing and sneezing are the most common ways colds spread, which is why it’s so important to wash your hands with soap and water as often as you can.

There is no cure for the common cold, however there are things you can do to relieve the symptoms.

For young children, talk to your local chemist and they will be able to advise you on the best treatment for your child.

In adults, paracetamol is effective for fever and mild pain, nasal decongestants can help a blocked nose and sore throats can be relieved with a warm drink with honey and lemon, gargling salty water or sucking on a lozenge.

Always make sure you check the active ingredients on all product labels to make sure you don’t take a ‘double dose’ or accidentally give one to your child.

Talk to your chemist if you are ever unsure.

Learn more about the common cold and how to treat and prevent it.