What is a Cold?

Colds are very common viral infections and will clear up usually within a couple of weeks.

Symptoms to look out for include:
- blocked or runny nose
- sneezing
- coughing
- a sore throat

If the cold is more severe than you may develop symptoms of a high temperature, headaches and aching of the muscles – these symptoms however are more associated with having the flu.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for a cold. There are however ways in which you can look after yourself at home if you are under the weather:
- using decongestant sprays and tablets to relieve your blocked nose
- rest up, drink plenty of fluids and try to eat healthier
- over the counter pain killers are available for you to take, helping to reduce any discomfort of high temperature
- inhaling menthol smelling salts and sucking on menthol pastilles will help to reduce congestion

Most decongestants and painkillers are available from your local Wilsons pharmacy to purchase – no need for a prescription. Adults and older children are generally safe to take these remedies. Babies, young children, pregnant women, people with certain health conditions and those taking other medicines will need to consult with a pharmacist before purchasing any over the counter medicines.

We recommend that you should see you GP if:

- symptoms persist for more than three weeks
- you have difficulty breathing
- your symptoms suddenly become worse
- if you develop any complications of a cold, chest pains and coughing up blood stained mucus

Colds spread quickly in groups with close contact for example families and children in school or nurseries. You can catch a cold by inhaling small droplets of fluid that contain the cold virus which are transported through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Touching your mouth and nose if you have droplets on your hands from skin to skin contact and finally touching your nose and mouth after contact with a contaminated object or surface.

Colds are contagious from a few days before symptoms begin to show until all of the symptoms have gone, this then means that a person is contagious for around about two weeks.

How can we stop it spreading?
- clean surfaces regularly
- wash hands regularly
- always cough and sneeze into a tissue, stopping droplets containing the virus to enter the air

Facts and figures

"Colds are contagious from a few days before symptoms begin to show until all of the symptoms have gone, this then means that a person is contagious for around about two weeks. "
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Useful resources


Mind

Great resource for better mental health.

http://www.mind.org.uk/


NHS

The NHS website is pack full of useful information about health and well being.

http://www.nhs.uk/