NHS Leaflet – Colds.

Here is some copy I wrote for an NHS leaflet, submitted last week. Just spreading the info peeps. There truly is nothing worse than a summer cold! Catch it, bin it, kill it y’all.

What is a cold?

The ‘common cold’ is in fact a viral infection affecting the upper respiratory tract that includes the nose, throat, sinuses and lungs. Cold viruses attack the lining of the nose and throat, making them inflamed.

How does a cold spread?

Colds can be spread by sneezes and coughs, or via direct and indirect contact with objects and surfaces. More than 200 different viruses can trigger a cold, which explains how it is possible to catch several colds one after the other, as each one is caused by a different virus.

What are the symptoms?

Cold symptoms usually begin 2-3 days after initial infection and can last for up to 2-14 days, although most people recover within a week.

Symptoms can include:

• Sneezing
• Blocked/runny nose
• Sore throat
• Painful swallowing
• Mild fever
• Mild earache
• Tiredness
• Coughing
• Headache

Some people mistakenly refer to a bad cold as ‘Flu (Influenza). However, ‘Flu is different in that it is more severe with its symptoms developing over a few hours, whereas a cold takes a couple of days.

Is there a cure?

There is no cure for the common cold; most people can treat the symptoms at home. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. However, if a cold leads to sinusitis, ear infection, chronic bronchitis or tonsillitis, then a GP may prescribe them.

Those having difficulty breathing or chest pain should see their GP urgently. If you are concerned about your baby, an elderly person or are suffering from a long-term illness, arrange a visit to your GP or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for assessment.

Although colds don’t usually last very long, there are a number of ways to relieve the symptoms. They include:

• Drinking plenty of water.
• Avoiding strenuous activity.
• Taking vitamin C & zinc.
• Inhaling steam/menthol vapours
• Avoiding smoking/smoke-filled environments
• Taking Echinacea (not recommended for children)

Some over the counter remedies can help, although you should always read the instructions carefully before administering any decongestants (oral & nasal), aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol, as they can interfere with prescription medications.

If in doubt, always check with your GP before use.

How can I prevent a cold spreading?

As so many viruses can cause the common cold, no vaccination has yet been developed. However, there are a number of ways you can stop it spreading:

• Catch it -always sneeze and cough into a tissue.
• Bin it – dispose of used tissues and handkerchiefs immediately.
• Kill it – wash your hands properly after touching your face and before handling food.

For more information on the common cold please visit:





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