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What is it?
A cold or flu is a viral infection of the nose and throat. Generally flu symptoms are more severe than those of the common cold.
Symptoms: The major symptoms include, Sneezing, sore throat, watering eyes, Runny nose, Headache, Slight fever, Hoarseness, Coughing and muscular pains.
Causes: A number of different viruses. Contact with people who have the virus.
Treatment in the home: Stay at home to protect others from infection. Take an aspirin or paracetamol in recommended doses to relieve headache, muscular pains and fever. Do not give aspirin to children under the age of 12. Drink plenty of fluids. Blow your nose frequently, as this helps to clear the air passages. Nasal decongestants may ease the discomfort. They dry up the nasal secretions and reduce swelling of the nasal passages. Do not use nasal decongestants for longer than 10 days without consulting your doctor.
Possible complications: Symptoms may persist and may trigger off secondary infections in the throat, sinuses, ears and lungs. Depression
When to consult a doctor: If the cold last longer than 10 days, Prolonged fever, Earache or a runny ear develops, Green or yellow phlegm is being coughed up, a persistent sore throat and if you are prone to bronchitis or ear infections.
What the doctor may do: Examine you to establish whether any complications are present. Prescribe antibiotics if there is a bacterial infection.