Colds and flu are particularly common in Winter. More than 200 viruses cause the common cold.
Flu (influenza) is caused by a different group of viruses and is a far more severe health condition that can lead to death.
Antibiotics are not a suitable treatment for colds and flu because antibiotics target bacteria, not viruses.
Take steps to protect yourself from colds and flu this season. To do this you need to:
- get immunised and protect yourself from the flu
- cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- throw tissues in the bin after you use them
- wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze
- use alcohol based hand sanitisers
- avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread this way
- try to avoid close contact with people who have a flu-like illness.
If you have a flu-like symptoms you should:
- stay home from work or school
- limit contact with other people to keep from infecting them.
- see your doctor if you are concerned or the following tips do not ease symptoms
No treatment will cure your cold, or make it go away more quickly, but if you get plenty of rest and stay hydrated you can expect to recover quicker.
Taking paracetamol will help to relieve your headache, muscle aches and reduce your fever.
It’s important to check the active ingredients on your medications and be careful you don’t double dose (many cold and flu medicines have paracetamol as an active ingredient).
Discuss medicines with your pharmacist or doctor before using or giving to children to make sure they are safe.
The flu vaccination can help to protect you against getting the flu.
Other tips on staying healthy to prevent Winter colds or the flu:
- Eat nutritious foods
- Drink plenty of water
- Keep yourself active
- Stay warm and consider others