A nasty cold bug is going round - this is why it's spreading so quickly and what to do if you get it
If you’re suffering from an ongoing cold like the rest of us, this valuable advice could help you turn a corner.
At this time of year the common cold and flu-like symptoms are everywhere.
With many being forced to take time off from work as symptoms persist we asked medical professionals their best advice to help us get back on the mend.
Dr Philip O’Donnell, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust advised those suffering to pay a visit to the pharmacist who can provide medication for beating the worst of the symptoms.
But he said if symptoms continue, make time to visit a GP.
Dr O’Donnell said: “As the weather gets colder we are more prone to coughs, colds and viruses.
“If you are starting to feel unwell, your local pharmacist can give you advice on self-care and recommend over the counter medication.
“For more persistent illness or injury, you should see your local GP.
“We have extended access at many GP practices with many more appointments available.
“If you think it’s more urgent you should call NHS 111 who can give you advice and make sure you are seen at the right place.”
At this time of year Emergency Departments can become overwhelmed by the volume of patients seeking advice and treatment, so members of the public battling the likes of a cold and minor problems are being warned to stay away.
Dr O’Donnell continued: “Please support our local emergency teams and only come into the Emergency Department if you have a serious or life-threatening emergency.
“Our departments are extremely busy at the moment while we look after those who are critically ill.
“The Emergency Department is not the place to come for minor problems and you will have a long wait to be seen while we look after those who really need it most.
“If you are starting to feel unwell and have an underlying medical condition, the best thing is to seek advice as early as possible from your GP or if urgent from NHS 111.
“This way you can get the appropriate treatment and avoid getting worse and having to come into hospital.”
Some members of the public may also be eligible for the flu vaccine which helps prevent flu but not colds.
How you can treat a cold yourself:
To help you get better more quickly the NHS has provided the following advice:
Rest and sleep. Keep warm. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Gargle salt water to soothe a sore throat.
To reduce the risk of spreading a cold:
Wash your hands often with warm water and soap
Use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
Bin used tissues as quickly as possible
How to prevent catching a cold:
Washing your hands with warm water and soap. Not sharing towels or household items (like cups) with someone who has a cold. Not touching your eyes or nose in case you have come into contact with the virus.