Cold and flu viruses are extremely common, and most of us come down with something every now and again, especially in winter. It can be frustrating when you’re stuck with an infection that you know will eventually go away by itself, but there isn’t normally much you can do in the short term. However, we do have some tips on managing your symptoms and minimising your discomfort and risk levels.
Nine times out of ten, an unexplained cold is down to a viral infection. Bacterial infections that present similar symptoms are rather unusual, so taking antibiotics is hardly ever the right course of action unless your doctor prescribes them. If you look for clues that your infection is viral, and you know where it is in your body to begin with, you can figure out what to expect in the coming days.
That’s the next step, and it will help you stay on top of your illness. Headaches and an uncomfortable throat usually come first with a cold. In a couple of days a sore throat will usually get worse before easing off, and congestion normally becomes your main concern. After a few days you will probably reach your lowest level of energy as your body focuses on fighting the infection by producing mucus and coughing. Commonly the cough is the last thing to leave, and taking three weeks to get over it is not unusual.