The common cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways - and usually clears up by itself within a couple of weeks. Unfortunately there is no outright cure for fighting a cold into submission, but following these simple steps should to help reduce the risk of coming down with one, or ease your symptoms if you’re feeling run down.

Tips for fighting a cold

  1. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Hot drinks including soups can help with easing a painful throat.
  2. Buy a decongestant to help relieve a blocked nose and reduce sinus pressure - these are available in various forms such as nasal sprays, tablets and liquids - speak to a Morrisons Pharmacist in store for further advice.
  3. Use steam inhalation using menthol crystals, again to reduce sinus pressure and a blocked nose.
  4. Try gargling with salt water and sucking on menthol lozenges to help with a sore throat. A hot drink of soothing honey or lemon and ginger could also help.
  5. If you have a temperature, and feel achy, try paracetamol or a non-steroid anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. These are available to buy over the counter without a prescription but please speak to our Morrisons Pharmacist for further advice as they may not be suitable for people with certain medical conditions.
  6. Avoid eating foods which are high in fat, sugar and salt. They may feel like comfort foods but are unlikely to contain the nourishment you need to help you keep bugs at bay.
  7. Some minerals and vitamins help your immune system to work normally. Increase your intake of vitamin C-rich foods such as oranges, lemons, berries, kiwis, and kale alongside iron-rich foods such as red meat, legumes and green leafy veg. Vitamin D also plays a part but at this time of year most of us lack this essential ‘sunshine vitamin’.
  8. Sleep is the best treatment when you are ill, as it allows your body to heal itself. Try to make sure you get the recommended 7-8 hours sleep a night.

The Government recommends that adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of Vitamin D during autumn and winter.

Spotting the symptoms

Cold and flu symptoms are very similar and it can be hard to tell the difference. Here’s what to look for if you’re feeling under the weather.

Cold symptoms

Symptoms tend to come on gradually and include:

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Blocked and runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Temperature
  • Generally feeling unwell

Flu symptoms

Signs of flu come on all of a sudden and can...

  • Include a headache, fever and aching muscles
  • Make you feel too poorly to carry on with everyday activities

When to see a GP

Colds tend to clear up within a couple of weeks. See your GP if:

  • Your cold has lasted more than three weeks
  • Your cough lasts for longer than three weeks and /or you suffer  from long term lung condition
  • Your symptoms suddenly get worse
  • You are having breathing difficulties
  • You have chest pain or are coughing up blood-stained mucus

Visit one of our in-store Pharmacies if you have any questions or need further advice about managing your cold symptoms. Always read the labels on any cold remedies you buy, and if your symptoms worsen or you are unsure as to how serious they are please consult your GP.