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Colds & flu

What is the difference between a cold and flu?

Colds are upper respiratory tract infections. They usually start with a sore throat and increasing nasal discharge. Symptoms include nasal stuffiness and congestion, earache and occasionally a cough. You may have low-grade fever or a mild headache. A cold usually lasts 5-7 days.

Flu is infection with a virus from the Influenza strain. People are usually significantly unwell, with high fevers, shakes, and headaches associated with significant muscle pain. Other symptoms include red eyes, sore throat, nasal congestion and cough. If you get flu you are normally quite unwell, needing to stay in bed for a good few days. Flu-like illnesses usually last 7-10 days.

Treatment tips
  • The best thing to do is rest and drink plenty of fluid.
  • Try and rest from work as well – your recovery is quicker and you won’t be spreading germs!
  • Vitamin C or salt water gargles can help with your sore throat
  • Steam inhalations with eucalyptus or peppermint oil can help nasal congestion
  • A warm towel on your neck can also help with sore throats and cough (Over the counter cough mixtures are often ineffective)
  • Speak to your doctor to see if the Flu vaccine would benefit you- we have them in stock

Should I get antibiotics?

Antibiotics only help a small minority of people who have upper respiratory tract infections, including those with bronchitis with cough and coloured sputum and middle ear infections. Most of the time, your own immune system will help you recover from the infection.

Taking antibiotics unnecessarily increases your risk of contracting an infection at a later date which may be resistant to antibiotics on the market. There can also be side effects such as rash, diarrhoea and disturbance in normal gut flora. Some side effects can be quite serious. We only recommend antibiotics when we feel they are most needed.

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