Most adults will get at least one cold each year and children may get several. Colds usually start to improve after 5-7 days in adults but can last longer in children. Symptoms include fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat and cough. It is caused by a virus infection and antibiotics have no effect on the course of the illness. Simple painkillers, decongestants and rest will help ease the symptoms.
Occasionally complications such as severe earache, tonsillitis or chest infection may develop. These may require treatment from your doctor.
The term 'flu' is over-used. It should refer to the specific infection influenza. This occurs in epidemics every few years and is a particular risk for the elderly or patients with chronic heart or lung problems. These patients flu vaccinations are usually remined to come to the surgery each year. Please check with the surgery if you believe you need a vaccine and have not been sent a reminder.