What to look out for
With a cold, you may have a sore throat, sneezing, a blocked or runny nose. A runny nose is normally clear at the start before becoming thicker and darker over the course of the infection. Green snot does not mean you have a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics. It just means your nose is inflamed and irritated and producing more snot than usual to help fight the virus which is causing your cold.
With a cold, you will usually feel worse during the first two to three days before gradually starting to improve. Your symptoms will usually last about a week.
Watch our video about how to cope with a cold.
What can you do
Most colds can be treated at home and will get better by themselves without any specific treatment. Drink plenty of liquids, get lots of rest and eat healthily. Resume your normal activities when you feel well enough.
Talk to your pharmacist about products and medications that will help. Paracetamol or ibuprofen will relieve pain or a fever. Nasal saline sprays will help to clear a blocked nose. Over-the-counter throat sprays, lozenges and cough remedies may also help.
Coughing and sneezing spreads the germs that caused your cold in the first place. Avoid passing the illness on to others by coughing into a tissue, binning the tissue immediately and washing your hands afterwards.
Do not ask your doctor for antibiotics for a cold. Colds are caused by viruses and antibiotics cannot treat viruses.
When to seek help
You do not need to see a doctor for a cold. Most colds can be treated at home.