Coughs and Colds
Most coughs and colds will last a few days, but can last up to three weeks. Colds can also be contagious for two weeks, so while you feel unwell you are likely to be spreading the virus to others.
The most effective way to deal with a cold is to rest, drinks lots of fluids and eat low-fat, high-fibre foods when you feel hungry. To soothe a cough either take a homemade remedy such as honey and lemon, or seek advice from your pharmacist.
Antibiotics do not work on common coughs and colds, as they fight bacteria rather than viruses. Most coughs and colds are caused by viruses.
'If a doctor says antibiotics are not appropriate for an illness, we should all listen and not pressurise them into giving us unnecessary drugs.'
- Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer
You only really need to see your GP if:
- your symptoms persist for more than three weeks
- you have a high temperature of 39 degrees or above
- you cough up blood stained phlegm
- you feel chest pain
- you have breathing difficulties
- you experience severe swelling of your glands in your neck and/or armpits.