Cold and flu are caused by infection with a virus and commonly affect our nose, throat and chest ( our respiratory tract). 


Cold and flu viruses are always changing- this seson's cold or flu virus will probably be different from last season's virus. This is why you can get a new cold or flu each year. 

It is also why a cure is difficult to develop, although vaccines for flu are available. Cold and flu viruses are spread by touch, e.g. by your hands, or through the air when you talk, sneeze, cough or breathe. Antibiotics do not kill viruses. A doctor will not give antibiotics for a cold or flu. Your immune system is you rbest defience.

Symptoms

General ‘unwell’ feeling at first and aching joints,head and chest congestion, a runny nose,sore throat.sneezing.dry cough that may occur only at night.chills.burning, watery eyes.all over, vague achiness.headache.fatigue.

The common cold is caused by infection from one of many different viruses. A virus attaches itself to the lining of your nasal passages or throat. The body temperature then usually goes up within the next few days.

It usually takes between one and four days to get the symptoms of a cold once you have been infected and then the cold itself can last for about 4 days to a week. It is important to be very careful during the first three days that you have symptoms, as this is the time that you are likely to pass on the cold to others.

Getting a cold is not generally dangerous in normal healthy individuals. They usually go away in a week or so without any special medicine.


Treatments:

Any type of treatment is designed to enable your body to be able to fight the cold virus as well as make life more bearable for you at this time. Over the counter medications, lozenges, cough medicines and gargles are available - just ask our pharmacist for advice. Ensure you get adequate rest as this is vital to your healing. You may need much more sleep than usual. Drinking water is also important.

Call your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or if the cold goes on for more than a couple of weeks and your symptoms appear to be worsening however.

Alternative/Natural Treatment
You could start these treatments as soon as you see the first symptom.

Aromatherapy - A steam inhalation can reduce congestion, and if the temperature is quite hot, it will also kill cold germs on contact. Choose eucalyptus , wintergreen, or peppermint. Place a few drops of the oil in a bowl and pour in boiling water.

Place a towel over your head, lean over the bowl to create a steam tent, and breathe the vapours. (see our section on Aromatherapy for more information).

Herbal Therapies - Taken at the first sign of symptoms, Echinacea can reduce a cold's severity, often even preventing it from becoming a full infection. Echinacea stimulates the immune response, enhancing resistance to all infection. It's available in capsules at our pharmacy.

Goldenseal helps clear mucus from the throat. Horseradish capsules also helps rid the body of excess mucus.

You can also buy tea infusions already specially formulated. . These blends can help the body cope with fever and reduce aches and pains, congestion, and inflammation.

Garlic shortens a cold's duration and severity. Any form seems to work: capsules or tablets, oil rubbed on the skin, or whole garlic roasted or cooked in other foods. It is a potent and powerful healing herb.

Homoeopathy - Cold symptoms often respond well to Homoeopathic remedies. Some examples are Bryonia, Arsenicum album, and Allium cepa to name a few.


When to seek further professional advice:

*  Your newborn (two months or younger) has cold symptoms.
*  If you are wheezing or having extreme difficulty breathing.
*  Your throat hurts and you have a very high temperature, or your symptoms seem to be getting worse.
*  Your temperature is very high. You may have pneumonia.  Seek medical care immediately.

Cold and Flu