Treating a cold
The best course of action is to drink plenty of fluids, keep warm and rest. Take paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin but make sure you follow the instructions on the medicine label.
For children, use the liquid preparations that are available, preferably the sugar-free ones.
For some people, for example, people with asthma, ibuprofen may not be the best choice. Ask your pharmacist for advice if you have asthma.
Coughs and sore throats
To relieve a cough, drink plenty of fluids and inhale steam to help loosen phlegm. If your cough won’t go away, either call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or ask your pharmacist for advice.
For sore throats
For a sore throat, suck throat lozenges or use a throat spray to help lubricate your throat and numb the pain.
If you get flu, it’s best to stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat what you can. There is no cure for flu.
Antibiotics do not usually help unless there are complications, but a painkiller such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin will help reduce your temperature and relieve headache and muscle pains.
If your temperature does not settle after four or five days, your condition deteriorates, you think you are seriously ill, you develop chest pain or become short of breath, call NHS Direct for advice on 0845 4647 or contact your general practice surgery.