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The New Wokingham Road Surgery

18 New Wokingham Road
RG45 6JL
Telephone: 01344 773418
Fax: 01344 762753

Colds and Flu Forget Antibiotics - The no.1 cure for colds and flu is you

Be antibiotic aware:
Antibiotic resistance is a significant and growing threat to your health. Overuse of antibiotics can actually do more harm than good because your body can build up a resistance, leading to problems caused by resistant bugs like MRSA.
Because of this it is now important to use antibiotics only when they are needed. They can be extremely effective, but taking them when you don't need them can cause antibiotics not to work when you do need them.
Antibiotics don't fight viruses such as colds, coughs and flu, and should only be taken to cure infections caused by bacteria.

Antibiotics won't cure:
Sore throats - Headaches - Runny noses - Raised temperatures - Coughs - Blocked noses - Poor appetites, and although they are very important drugs antibiotics are designed to treat specific illnesses caused by bacteria, they do not work on viral infections such as colds, coughs and flu, which most healthy adults can fight off.
Chest and head colds can last up to three weeks and antibiotics won't speed up your recovery.

Here's what you can do:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take paracetamol, ibuprofen or your usual painkiller for sore throats, headaches or muscle ache.
  • Get lots of rest
  • Inhaling the steam of hot (not boiling) water may help if you have a blocked nose and / or a chesty cough.
  • Prevention is better than cure: Ask the surgery about a flu jab. This is free to various groups, including those who are 65 and over and people who have asthma, heart trouble, diabetes or kidney disease.
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Live a healthy lifestyle
  • Wash your hands frequently

You should contact your doctor if:

  • Have a cough that lasts more than 3 weeks
  • Have a fever for more than 2 to 3 days
  • Become short of breath
  • Develop severe chest pain
  • Have a chronic medical condition, especially a chest complaint
  • Develop ear or nose pain or a rash

Symptoms of Flu

Typical flu symptoms include: a sudden onset of high fever with chills, headache, aching muscles, weakness and sometimes a cough and sore throat.Many people confuse flu with a heavy cold; however, flu tends to be more severe than the common cold, which is caused by other respiratory viruses such as rhinovirus.Flu is very debilitating and the sufferer may have to go to bed. The attack lasts for around seven days.Following flu infection many sufferers feel tired, weak and unwell for several weeks. Even after the infection has run its course, the weakened individual is at continued risk of developing complications; serious complications include bronchitis and secondary bacterial pneumonia.

Signs and Symptoms of Flu and the Common Cold

Signs and Symptoms Flu Common Cold
Fever/Chills Usual, lasts 3-4 days Rare
Headache Common Rare
Muscles Aches & Pains Usual and often severe Slight
Fatigue & Weakness Usual. Can last up to 2-3 weeks Sometimes
Extreme Exhaustion Usual at the beginning of the illness Rare
Stuffy Nose Sometimes Common
Sneezing Sometimes Usual
Sore Throat Sometimes Common
Chest Discomfort/Cough Common, can become severe Mild to moderate, hacking cough












A guide for parents and carers of children under five

Children may seem unwell for a variety of reasons and sometimes all you need is some medical advice to help you decide what care is best for them.

Click here for NHS information on childhood conditions.

The website offers onscreen advice to navigate the most common childhood illnesses most likely to affect a child under five.  There is also an audio assistant in both English and Polish.

A PDF version of this booklet is  below.

Guide to Childhood Illnesses (.pdf, 2.63 MB)


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