Is it a cold or the flu?

When to get help? Plus self-care advice


When to get help

Usually, if you are fit and well, you will be able to manage your cold or even flu without seeing a doctor. However, if you have chronic illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (which causes breathing problems), asthma, heart disease or diabetes please contact your doctor for advice.

In all circumstances, if you are worried, and appear to be worsening or are very unwell, please do seek medical advice, especially if you develop a very high fever, confusion or chest pain.

What can you do to help yourself?

Most viral illnesses, such as colds and flu are self-limiting (they usually get better on their own), but see a doctor if you are concerned. Plenty of rest, non-alcohol based fluids and pain relief can help make you feel more comfortable. Usually however, it is time that you need to help you feel better.

Paracetamol can be used by most people safely, but be sure to read and follow instructions on the packet. Ask a doctor if you are unsure.