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Colds, Flu and You…

"Do I have a cold or is it the flu?" It's a question you've probably asked yourself before at this time of year. 

Sometimes it’s a tricky one to answer. After all, the symptoms of colds and the flu can be pretty similar. Luckily, NHS Choices has prepared a few tips on telling the two apart. . .

Cold symptoms
If you’ve caught a cold, your symptoms:

  • come on gradually
  • mainly affect your nose and throat
  • are fairly mild, so you can still get around and go to work

Most colds are mild and don’t stick about for too long. So you won’t need to see a GP if you think you have one. Just rest up at home, and use some over-the-counter remedies until you feel better. Ask your local Pharmacist for some advice on what’s best for you.

Flu symptoms
When you get the flu, your symptoms:

  • come on quickly
  • usually include a headache, fever and aching muscles
  • make you feel too unwell to continue your usual activities

Should I see a GP?
You only really need to see your GP if:

  • your symptoms last longer than three weeks
  • your symptoms get worse suddenly
  • you have breathing problems
  • you develop symptoms of complications of a cold, such as chest pain or coughing up bloodstained mucus

You should also see your GP if you’re worried about your baby or an elderly person. Likewise, see your GP if you have a long-term illness such as a lung condition. If you need advice urgently, please call NHS 111.