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A common cold, also known as flu-like infection, is often mistaken for a flu. However, the common cold develops slowly - in contrast to the flu, whose symptoms appear suddenly and with a high fever.
A common cold is usually harmless and goes away on its own after about a week. However, some discomforts (e.g. cough) can last longer. It is quite possible that you or your child will catch a common cold several times a year.
What can you do yourself if you have a cold?
- Take a rest and try to get plenty of sleep.
- Keep yourself warm.
- Drink enough liquids.
- Gargle with salt water to relieve a sore throat.
- If you have a stuffy nose, decongestant medication (such as nasal sprays) can help. Use it only for a short time (max. 1 week).
- Certain painkillers relieve pain and lower fever. Only take these if your doctor prescribes them. It is usually not necessary to take painkillers for common colds.
- Antibiotics usually don't help with common colds. The reason: Most common colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics only help against bacterial infections. Only take antibiotics when directed by a doctor.
When to seek medical advice?
Contact your family doctor if:
- The cold symptoms do not improve or even worsen after three weeks.
- You have very severe symptoms (e.g. high temperature).
- You feel hot but you feel cold at the same time.
- Your child is under the age of one year and has symptoms of a common cold.
- You have had common colds on a regular basis.
- You have difficulty breathing.
- You have chest pain.
- You suffer from a chronic disease of the airways.
- Wash hands regularly and thoroughly
- Cough/sneeze in the crook of your arm and not into your hands