You can often treat a cold without seeing your GP. You should begin to feel better in about a week or two.
Check if you have a cold
Cold symptoms come on gradually and can include:
- blocked or runny nose
- sore throat
- muscle aches
- a high temperature (more than 38C in adults, 37.5C in children)
- pressure in your ears and face
- loss of taste and smell
The symptoms are the same in adults and children. Sometimes, symptoms last longer in children.
Telling the difference between cold and flu
Cold and flu symptoms are similar but flu tends to be more severe.
Appears quickly within a few hours
Affects mainly your nose and throat
Affects more than just your nose and throat
Makes you feel unwell but you’re okay to carry on as normal – for example, go to work
Makes you feel exhausted and too unwell to carry on as normal
How you can treat a cold yourself
To help you get better more quickly:
- rest and sleep
- keep warm
- drink plenty of water (fruit juice or squash mixed with water is ok) to avoid dehydration
- gargle salt water to soothe a sore throat
A pharmacist can help with cold medicines
You can buy cough and cold medicines from pharmacies or supermarkets. A pharmacist can advise you on the best medicine.
- relieve a blocked nose with decongestant sprays or tablets
- ease aches or lower a temperature with painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen
Be careful not to use cough and cold medicines if you’re taking paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets as it’s easy to take more than the recommended dose.
Some are not suitable for children, babies and pregnant women.
There’s little evidence that supplements (such as vitamin c, zinc, echinacea or garlic) prevent colds or speed up recovery.
Find a pharmacy
See a GP if:
- your symptoms don’t improve after three weeks
- your symptoms get suddenly worse
- your temperature is very high or you feel hot and shivery
- you’re concerned about your child’s symptoms
- you’re finding it hard to breathe or develop chest pain
- you have a long-term medical condition – for example, diabetes or a heart, lung, kidney or neurological disease
- you have a weakened immune system – for example, because you’re having chemotherapy
GPs don’t recommend antibiotics for colds because they won’t relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery.
Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections and colds are caused by viruses.
How to avoid spreading a cold
Colds are caused by viruses and easily spread to other people. You’re infectious until all your symptoms have gone. This usually takes a week or two.
Colds are spread by germs from coughs and sneezes which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.
To reduce the risk of spreading a cold:
- wash your hands often with warm water and soap
- use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
- bin used tissues as quickly as possible
How to prevent catching a cold
A person with a cold can start spreading it from a few days before their symptoms begin until the symptoms have finished. The best ways to avoid catching a cold are:
- washing your hands with warm water and soap
- not sharing towels or household items (like cups) with someone who has a cold
- not touching your eyes or nose in case you’ve come into contact with the virus - it can infect the body this way
- staying fit and healthy
The flu vaccine helps prevent the flu but not colds.
If you can’t speak to your GP or don’t know what to do next.
Change of Wednesday Closing Times
Please note that from Wednesday 3rd January reception closing time will change from 1.30pm - 2.30pm to the new time of 12.30pm - 1.30pm.
The shingles vaccine is given to prevent shingles, a common, painful skin disease, available on the NHS to certain people in their 70s.
The shingles vaccine is given as a single injection into the upper arm. Unlike the flu jab, you'll only need to have the vaccination once and you can have it at any time of the year. The shingles vaccine is expected to reduce your risk of getting shingles. If you are unlucky enough to go on to have the disease, your symptoms may be milder and the illness shorter.
This is available to certain patients between the ages of 70 - 80, click here to use the Shingles Vaccination Calculator to see if you are eligible. If you are eligible and have not yet had the vaccination, please contact the surgery to make an appointment with one of our practice nurses.
10 Ways To Get The Most From Your GP
With the average GP consultation lasting just 10 minutes, Which? have been investigating how patients can make the time count. They interviewed 15 GPs – from newly qualified doctors to those with a lifetime of experience – to gather their tips and know-how.
Click here for more information.
Farewell to Dr David Hannah
We wish Dr David Hannah a fond farewell, who has retired from general practice after moving to Hucknall in 1992. He has expressed his thanks for all the cards, gifts and well wishes he has received.
Welcome to Dr Abdel-Salam
We are pleased to welcome Dr Hannan Abdel-Salam who has now joined us as a GP Partner. Dr Abdel-Salam has previously done her GP training here at the surgery between 2013-2016.
Helping You To Help Yourself