Sore throat and runny nose are usually the first signs of a cold. Other symptoms include coughing, headache, fatigue, congestion, and sneezing. A cold usually lasts 3 to 7 days.
Use over the counter medicines. Make sure to follow all dosage instructions carefully and talk to your pharmacist if you need help.
The flu usually starts suddenly and lasts over 1 week. Symptoms include achy muscles, fever, headache, coughing, and congestion.
Treating the Flu
Get plenty of rest and drink clear fluids (water, broth, sports drinks). You can also put a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead if you have a fever. Ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter medicines like decongestants, cough medicine, acetaminophen. Your doctor might also prescribe an antiviral if necessary.
Important: Antibiotics do not treat the cold or flu.
Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Both the cold and flu are caused by viruses, so antibiotics are not useful. Viral infections are different from bacterial infections and require different medicine to treat them.
Taking antibiotics at the wrong time will prevent them from working for you in the future.
Only take antibiotics if your cold or flu develops into a bacterial infection like pneumonia or bronchitis, or if your doctor instructs you to.
To learn more about medicines to treat colds and flu, click below.
Feel Better Soon... Without Antibiotics (Children)
Feel Better Soon…Without Antibiotics (Adults)