You can manage cold symptoms yourself by following some simple advice . You'll normally start to feel better within 7 to 10 days.
Until you're feeling better, it may help to:
You may lose your appetite when you have a cold. This is perfectly normal and should only last a few days. Don't force yourself to eat if you're not feeling hungry.
You may also wish to try some of the medications and remedies described below to help relieve your symptoms.
The main medications used to treat cold symptoms are:
These medications are available from pharmacies without a prescription. They're generally safe for older children and adults to take, but might not be suitable for babies, young children, pregnant women, people with certain underlying health conditions, and people taking certain other medications.
Always read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine before taking it, and follow the recommended dosage instructions. If you're not sure which treatments are suitable for you or your child, speak to a pharmacist for advice.
More information about over-the-counter cold medicines is provided below.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen can help reduce a fever and also act as painkillers. Aspirin may also help, but it isn't normally recommended for a cold and should never be given to children under the age of 16.
If your child has a cold, look for age-appropriate versions of paracetamol and ibuprofen (usually in liquid form). Always follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure the correct dose is given.
Taking both ibuprofen and paracetamol at the same time is not usually necessary for a cold and should be avoided in children as using both together may be unsafe.
If you're taking painkillers and want to also take a cold medicine, check the patient information leaflet first or ask your pharmacist or GP for advice to avoid exceeding the recommended dose.
If you're pregnant, paracetamol is the preferred choice to treat mild to moderate pain and fever.
They can help make breathing easier by reducing the swelling inside your nose.
However, they're generally only effective for a short period and they can make your blocked nose worse if they're used for more than a week.
Decongestants are not recommended for children under six years old and children under 12 years old shouldn't take them unless advised by a pharmacist or GP. They're also not suitable for people with certain underlying conditions and those taking certain medications.
Apply the rub to your child's chest and back. Don't apply it to their nostrils because this could cause irritation and breathing difficulties.
Nasal saline (salt water) drops can help relieve a blocked nose in babies and young children.
There is some evidence to suggest that taking zinc supplements within a day of the symptoms starting will speed up recovery from a cold and reduce the severity of symptoms.
However, there is currently little evidence to suggest that taking vitamin C supplements is beneficial when a cold starts.
The following treatments aren't usually recommended to treat colds because there isn't strong evidence to suggest they're effective, and they may cause unpleasant side effects:
You should seek medical advice if: your child is under three months old and has a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above, their symptoms last more than three weeks, they seem to be getting worse rather than better, etc.
Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Colds are caused by viruses, so do not respond to antibiotics. The overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, where bacterial infections become less easily treatable.
The following tips may help your child cope with the symptoms of a cold: encourage your child to rest and make sure they drink plenty of fluids, liquid paracetamol or ibuprofen can help ease a fever, a warm, moist atmosphere can ease breathing, etc.
A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It's very common and usually clears up on its own within a week or two. Colds are also more frequent during the winter, although it's not clear exactly why.
The symptoms of a cold include a strep throat, a blocked or runny nose, sneezing, etc. They usually develop within a few days of becoming infected. The symptoms are usually at their worst during the first two to three days, before they gradually start to improve.
You can manage cold symptoms yourself by following some simple advice . You'll normally start to feel better within 7 to 10 days. The main medications used to treat cold symptoms are painkillers, decongestants and cold medicines.
Colds usually clear up without causing any further problems. However, the infection can sometimes spread to your chest, ears or sinuses. Like sinusitis, middle ear infection and chest infection.
Young children get colds quite often because their immune system is still developing. It can be worrying when your child gets a cold, but it's not usually serious and normally passes within two weeks.