Antibiotics won’t help.
Some colds can last from a few days up to two weeks. Flu will last for a week or two, afterwards you can feel exhausted for several days. This is quite normal.
Colds and flu share some of the same symptoms, but flu is not the same as “a bad cold” and it can be much more serious.
A cold comes on slowly, over one or two days. You should start to feel better after a few days but some colds can last up to two weeks.
Flu usually comes on much more quickly than a cold. You should start to feel better after a week or so, but you may feel tired for much longer.
Symptoms of colds:
Blocked or runny nose, sore throat, headaches, cough, pressure in your ears and face, a high temperature or fever.
Symptoms of flu:
Same as a cold, plus: aching all over, diarrhoea, vomiting, feeling exhausted and struggle to get out of bed.
How to treat colds and flu:
If you’re usually fit and healthy, you should be able to look after a cold or flu yourself without seeing your GP.
Stay at home, rest, keep warm and drink plenty of water.
Fever is a sign that your body is fighting the infection. You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and relieve aches and pains.
Stay off work or school until you’re feeling better.
When to seek medical advice
See your GP if your symptoms get a lot worse after a week or two.
Get medical help straight away if you have a very high fever and a really bad headache or pain in your tummy or chest.
For some people, there’s a chance that a cold or flu can become more serious. Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you: