Colds & Flu


A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. Symptoms include nasal stuffiness, a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat and a cough. It is usually a self-limiting infection therefore it will get better by itself within a week of the symptoms starting without the need for treatment. As yet, there is no cure for colds. Antibiotics, don’t work on cold viruses.
On average, adults have two to five colds each year and school-age children can have up to eight colds a year. Adults who come into contact with children tend to get more colds. This is because children usually carry more of the virus, for longer. You’re more likely to get a cold during the winter months although the reasons why aren’t fully understood at present.


Your pharmacist can usually help with this, to save you having to make an appointment to see a GP. These self-help measures may help to ease the symptoms of a cold.

  • Drinking enough fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Steam inhalations with menthol, salt water nasal sprays or drops may be helpful.
  • Vapour rubs may help relieve symptoms for children.
  • Hot drinks (particularly with lemon), hot soups and spicy foods can help to ease irritation and pain in your throat.
  • Sucking sweets or lozenges which contain menthol or eucalyptus may sooth your throat.
  • Gargling with salt water may help a sore throat.

You should try to make sure you get enough rest if you have a cold. It’s not usually necessary to stay off work or school.

For more information about cold and flu click here.


Antibiotic Awareness

Each year, over 25,000 people in Europe die from infections that are resistant to antibiotics.  We need to use antibiotics wisely and educate the population that they won’t cure things like a cold or normal sore throat.  Just as important, we need to ensure that people finish a course of antibiotics and don’t stop taking the tablets because they feel better.