The common cold is not the same as the flu, also known as influenza, which might need the support of your GP.

Treating the common cold

June 4, 2020 BY


A cold is a viral infection that affects the nose, ears and throat. Adults usually get two to four colds every year.

Children can get as many as 5-10 every year because they are not immune to many cold viruses. The common cold is not the same as the flu, also known as influenza. The flu is caused by a different virus (such as influenza A or B) which is much more serious than a cold and may need the support of your general practitioner.
Some parents and doctors have long believed that the colour of snot or phlegm indicated the type or seriousness of an infection. Research suggests that this is not the case, and even a cold with green snot or phlegm does not need to be treated with antibiotics.
There are no specific medications that can cure the common cold, but there are some simple ways you can effectively relieve your symptoms. For young children and babies, talk to your Pharmacist who will advise you depending on your child’s symptoms and age.


Reducing fever and mild pain
Paracetamol is effective for fever and mild pain, and is a common ingredient in many cold and flu medications.

Unblocking a stuffy nose
Saline nasal sprays or nasal decongestants can help to ease a blocked nose. These medications can make it easier to breathe. Saline nasal preparations are available for all ages, but nasal decongestants should only be used by adults and children aged 6 years and over.

Keep hydrated
Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Children tend to lose water faster than adults particularly when they are unwell. A rehydration solution can be considered to help replenish fluid and essential electrolytes.

Soothing a sore throat
Sore throats can be relieved with sipping on a warm drink with lemon and honey, gargling salt water and sucking a lozenge. Gargles containing the ingredient Povidone Iodine or throat sprays containing Benzydamine Hydrochloride may provide additional relief.

Essential Oils
Certain essential oils such as eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil may be useful in the relief of common cold symptoms and relieve congestion.

DISCLAIMER: This material contains general information about medical conditions and treatments and is intended for educational purposes only. It does not constitute medical or professional advice, nor should it be used for the purposes of diagnosing or treating any illness. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your local pharmacist or health care provider to obtain professional advice relevant to your specific circumstances.

Head to