IF you haven't been plagued with any colds this winter, you're doing well.
Getting a cold is incredibly common – adults can expect to have two to three colds each year, while kids can have up to 10 or more – and right now, nasty bugs are rife.
Everyone recognises the symptoms: a sore throat, cough and runny nose, to name a few.
While there's no proven way to get rid of a cold, several medicines and remedies can help ease the symptoms you are experiencing, TV Pharmacist Thorrun Govind explains.
Treatments that work
"But the crux of getting yourself better is lots of rest, sleep and water; this will give your immune system the best chance," she tells The Sun.
"If you're not a fan of water, try drinking some fruit juice or squash – the important thing here is to avoid dehydration," she adds.
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Hydration is always important, but it’s even more so when you have a cold, or the flu.
The main reason to pay close attention to your fluid intake when you’re sick is that you are probably neglecting your normal eating and drinking habits.
On top of this, you're also losing water to congestion and a fever.
If those pesky symptoms are getting the better of you, Thorrun says there are a few treatments you can try.
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"Try gargling some salt and water to treat a sore throat," the pharmacist suggests.
To do this, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass warm water.
Gargle with the solution, then spit it out. Repeat as often as you would like.
According to Penn Medicine, salt water can help kill bacteria, ease pain, and loosen mucus, helping to relieve symptoms.
For those wanting to relieve their blocked noses, try some decongestant medicines.
"Nasal sprays work much quicker than tablets because the decongestant reaches your blocked nose almost instantly," Thorrun explains.
Health experts in the US recently claimed decongestants when used in oral medicines (rather than nasal sprays), don't work.
"Make sure you don't use these sprays for longer than five days," she warns, "as using them for any longer can make your nose more blocked, even after the infection has cleared up".
The best way to ease aches and pains we often get with a cold is to take some pain and simple paracetamol and ibuprofen, the expert adds.
"You can take both these at the same time, but make sure you keeping tract of how much you take so you don't take too much," she explains.
Myths to avoid
"Some people take vitamin C, but there is very little evidence to suggest it helps with a cold," she says.
Some studies suggest the vitamin could help clear up a cold faster, but the evidence is still inconclusive.
"Another popular product for cold and flu among patients is echinacea, but there isn't much evidence to suggest it does anything," she adds.
Echinacea is a plant which experts once thought to stimulate the immune system to more effectively fight infection.
Recent studies have found the dietary supplement does little to reduce the time you are feeling ill.
Thorrun, warned people asking for or using against using left-over antibiotics they might find in their house.
"You won't need antibiotics if you have a cold because colds are viruses, and antibiotics are only effective against bacteria," she says.
Prevention better than cure
Like with all illnesses, when it comes to a cold, prevention is better than cure.
"To avoid getting a cold, wash your hands regularly, particularly before touching your nose or mouth and handling food," Thorrun says.
And if you live with someone with a cold, don't share items like a towel or cup with the ill person.
When to see a GP
You only need to see a healthcare professional if your cold symptoms persist for more than three weeks or if they worsen suddenly.
You should always seek help if you develop breathing difficulties, chest pain, or start coughing up bloodstained mucus.
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