So have I got a cold, or is it the flu?
Flu is the common name for influenza and is a more serious type of infection than a cold. Symptoms of a cold – sore throat, runny nose, a slight temperature - develop gradually and usually you’re able to carry on and do things. Flu, on the other hand, is a more severe illness for the majority of people and its symptoms are debilitating, preventing the sufferer from doing anything other than lie down and rest. The Flu will bring on a high temperature, aching limbs, weak muscles and the symptoms can last for up to 10 days.
How do you catch flu?
The flu virus is contagious and passed on in air droplets that are breathed, coughed or sneezed by people. You can also contract flu by touching a surface that’s contaminated with the virus.
Can I be vaccinated to protect myself from catching flu?
Your local Alphega pharmacist will be able to vaccinate you against flu. Some people can receive a flu vaccine free of charge from the NHS, contact your Alphega Pharmacy to find out if you are eligible. Even if you are not eligible for a free vaccine, you may be able to pay privately to receive a vaccination. you can find out more about our flu vaccination service here
You can find your nearest Alphega Pharmacy offering the Flu Vaccination service by searching here. (Services may differ between pharmacies so get in touch with your local pharmacy to make an enquiry and book your appointment).
How do you avoid spreading or catching colds and flu?
Cold and flu are both caused by viruses and easily spread to other people.
With a cold you’re infectious from a few days before symptoms develop and until all signs of your cold have gone, which usually takes up to two weeks. Germs are spread from coughs and sneezes and can live on any hard surface for 24 hours. The good news is you can reduce the risk of spreading a cold by simply:
Washing your hands often with warm water and soap
Using tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
Not sharing towels or household items (such as cutlery or cups)
Binning used tissues as quickly as possible
Trying to avoid touching your eyes or nose in case you have come into contact with the virus
Doing your best to stay fit and healthy
How to treat a cold
Unfortunately antibiotics won’t cure a cold, however, there are plenty of over-the-counter remedies that your local pharmacist will be happy to give advice on to help you make the right choice to relieve your cold symptoms. Get in touch with your local Alphega pharmacy for more advice.
Get plenty of rest
Consider using an inhalant or humidifier to help you breathe more easily. Your pharmacist will be able to give advice on the best choice
This guide will help if you’re keen to manage specific symptoms of your cold:
|Nasal congestion and sinus pain and pressure|
|Ear ache or pain|
Why not try herbal remedies to help manage cold and flu symptoms
You don’t need to use medication to ease the symptoms of a cold. You can also try herbal remedies and vitamins and supplements. Ask your pharmacist for advice.
Understanding if you have a cold or the flu will help you to treat and relieve your symptoms as effectively as possible. Your local Alphega pharmacist can give you advice on the most appropriate options available to you. Find your local Alphega pharmacy by searching here. (Services may differ between pharmacies so get in touch with your local pharmacy to make an enquiry and book your appointment).