Feeling under the weather? Read this handy guide on coping with colds

Feeling under the weather? Read this handy guide on coping with colds
A handy guide on how to cope with a cold this January.

Colds are rampant at the moment with coughs and tickly throats all round.

Most people know how to look after themselves with a cold, but just in case you are at a loss, the HSE has put together a handy guide to coping with this particular winter illness.

Firstly, it is important to know the difference between cold and flu.

A cold appears gradually and generally affects your nose and throat. The first symptom is usually a sore throat, followed by sneezing or a blocked, sore or runny nose.

Flu can come on in a matter of hours and exhausts the body, meaning you cannot keep up your normal routine.

The second thing to be aware of is that colds are caused by viruses and cannot be treated by antibiotics.

The best thing you can do for a cold is to drink plenty of liquids, get lots of rest and eat healthily.

A cold should usually last about a week and generally, they can be treated at home.

There are a number of over the counter products that can help take the edge of being sick. Paracetamol or ibuprofen will relieve pain or a fever, nasal saline sprays will help to clear a blocked nose and over-the-counter throat sprays, lozenges and cough remedies may also help.

One final piece of advice from the HSE is to be careful taking cough and cold medicines if you’re also taking paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets as it is easy to take more than the recommended dose.

Cold and flu remedies.
Cold and flu remedies.

With a cold, you only need to see a GP if your symptoms don't improve after three weeks, you're finding it hard to breathe or develop chest pain, you are hot and shivery or you have a long-term medical condition for example, Diabetes.

Also if your symptoms get suddenly worse, you're concerned about your child's symptoms or if you have a weak immune system – for example, if you have diabetes or you're having chemotherapy.

Visit a GP if you are concerned about your child's symptoms.
Visit a GP if you are concerned about your child's symptoms.

Finally, to confine the virus, there are a few precautions we can all take such as washing your hands with warm water and soap, especially before eating and not sharing towels or household items, like cups, with someone who has a cold.

Also, try not to touch your eyes or nose as you can infect your body if you've come into contact with the virus.

Staying fit and healthy will help ward off illness all year round.

For more information visit www.hse.ie

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