13/09/2019 Coughs, Cold & Flu
Common colds are often treatable without the need to see a GP. Common symptoms include:
• Blocked or runny nose.
• Sore throat.
• muscle aches.
• Raised temperature
• Pressure in your ears and face.
• Loss of taste and smell.
GPs don’t recommend antibiotics for colds as they’re only effective against bacterial infections, whereas colds are caused by viruses. Pharmacists can offer alternative OTC medicines such as:
• Decongestant sprays or tablets to relieve a blocked nose.
• Paracetamol or ibuprofen which can help ease aches and also work to lower temperature.
• Cold & flu medicines such as Day/Night Nurse and Lemsip which target multiple symptoms.
Types of medicines that can be offered to help coughs, but not get rid of them, include:
• Cough syrup.
• Cough medicine (some cough medicines should not be given to children under 12)
• Cough sweets.
• Decongestants and cough medicines containing codeine.
While colds and flus are often mistaken for each other, they’re caused by different viruses whereby flu viruses cause more severe symptoms which come on very quickly and can include:
• Sudden fever – a temperature of 38C or above.
• Aching body.
• Dry cough.
• Sore throat.
• Difficulty sleeping.
• Loss of appetite.
• Diarrhoea or stomach pain.
• Nausea and/or vomiting.
Healthy individuals usually get over the flu within a week or 2. However high-risk patients are more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. These
people are advised to have a flu vaccine each year, free of charge on the NHS:
• 65 years old or over.
• Children in primary school.
• Have serious long-term medical conditions.
• Living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility.
• Receive a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill.