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    The main symptoms are a runny or blocked nose. People feel unwell and have associated sneezing and a temperature. The virus can also cause a sore throat, hoarse voice and a dry cough. Occasionally the tube that drains the ears into the back of the nose can become blocked and this can cause earache or impaired hearing. A blocked nose often disturbs sleep.


    Unfortunately there is no cure for the common cold. The symptoms are usually worst in the first 2-3 days and then begin to improve over the following few days. Antibiotics are completely useless against the common cold and should not be expected from the doctor. However there are several things you can do to help ease your symptoms:

    • Paracetamol – will reduce your temperature, ease your sore throat, aches and pains. Adults and children should take the appropriate dose regularly (4 times daily) for it to be more effective.
    • Gargling with soluble aspirin tablets helps sore throats. It has a local anti-imflammatory effect and if swallowed after gargling, also relieves aches, headaches, raised temperature etc. (Caution: no aspirin for under 12 years of age)
    • A variety of cold remedies can be bought from the pharmacies and check with the chemist on its suitability. They can aid better sleep.
    • Decongestant nose sprays and drops can also be bought and may ease a blocked nose.
    • A steam inhalation 3-4 times daily can be very successful in relieving a blocked nose. For best effect you can add eucalyptus or menthol crystals, Olbas Oil or ‘Vicks’ to the water.
    • Drink plenty of fluids. It is surprising how much fluid you can sweat when you have a temperature.

    Remember, most colds will settle after a few days and the above measures will help to make them more bearable. An unfortunate few will develop a complication such as a secondary chest, ear or sinus infection. A marked worsening of your condition should prompt you to seek further help.