Avoid 999 and A&E unless it’s an emergency. Get help from your pharmacist or GP - or call 111.
The common cold virus generally affects the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. Most colds clear up within a week or two, although can be annoying to live with.
You can manage cold symptoms – including sore throat, blocked or runny nose and sneezing – yourself with over the counter medicines like paracetamol, ibuprofen and decongestants. Drink plenty of fluids to replace those lost from sweating and a runny nose, and get plenty of rest.
The best way to prevent colds is by washing your hands thoroughly and regularly and using a tissue to ‘catch it, bin it and kill it’. Good hand washing destroys bugs that you may have picked up from touching surfaces such as light switches and door handles.
Sore throats are very common, often with a cold, and normally get better within a week.
Taking ibuprofen or paracetamol, drinking plenty of fluids, eating cool, soft foods or sucking lozenges, hard sweets, ice cubes or lollies can help (don’t give young children anything small and hard to suck because of the risk of choking).
Your pharmacist can provide further advice on treating a sore throat.