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.

Avoid contagion!

  • Wash hands regularly and thoroughly
  • Cough/sneeze in the crook of your arm and not into your hands