Kenyans Sweep Victories at 43rd Honolulu Marathon
December 14, 2015
Lift Effects award opens nominations.
December 15, 2015

Most of us will have a cold this winter 2016, and some of us will have flu. Below are some medical remedies about how to look after yourself if these viruses affect you.

Mostly, the causative organism of cold and flu are viruses. There are more than 200 common cold viruses, so it’s usually hard to avoid.

These viruses can be spread through droplets that are coughed and sneezed out by an infected person. The viruses can also be transferred on a person’s fingers. For example, if you have a cold and you touch your nose or eyes and then touch someone else, you may pass the virus on to them.

The main symptoms of winter cold and flu are:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • blocked nose
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • slight temperature

If these above are the only symptoms you have, it’s unlikely that your doctor will be able to do anything. And it indicates that you are suffering from viral infection.

It’s good idea to visit your local pharmacy, where you can get better advice on how to manage the symptoms and buy over the-counter medicines. Pharmacists say cold and flu medicines are among their top sellers in the winter. Some of the remedies combine painkillers with decongestants, which can help to manage symptoms.

Best treatment is trying to rest, eat well, avoid stress and keep well hydrated. If you have a fever, you may need extra fluids. You could also take paracetamol to treat fever and pain, or inhale steam with a decongestant in it to help clear a blocked nose.

Painkillers, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin, can really help if you have a cold. But aspirin shouldn’t be given to children under 16 years of age. Also, Decongestants help to reduce the swelling inside your nose so you can breathe more easily.

In most cases, antibiotics (which are used to treat bacterial infections) aren’t necessary. Colds and flu, and most coughs, are caused by viruses so antibiotics can’t help. Minor bacterial infections will also be fought off by our natural immunity.

Children can be treated using some over the-counter painkillers from your nearest pharmacy to ease discomfort and help to bring down a fever. Both paracetamol and ibuprofen are available as a liquid form for children and can be given from the age of about three months. Always check with your doctor/pharmacist if you aren’t sure which treatments you can give your child.

Children are more prone in catching a few coughs and colds. Children tend to get a lot of colds because the body takes time to build up their immunity. Your body learns to fight off a particular kind of virus every time you get an infection, which is why you get fewer colds as you get older.

There are certain cases when you or your child should see a Doctor.


  1. You or your child have a chronic condition such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease
  2. You have a very high temperature and feel ill, for example if you also have an unusually severe headache or abdominal pain
  3. Your child is vomiting but does not have diarrhoea, or has a rash in addition to the fever
  4. Your child stops drinking and is unusually lethargic
  5. Your child’s fever doesn’t respond to paracetamol or ibuprofen
  6. Babies, older and frailer people should get help if they’re unwell. All babies under three months with a temperature of more than 38°C (100.4°F) should be urgently assessed by a doctor, as should babies aged three to six months with a temperature higher than 39°C (102.2°F).


Dr. Imtiaz Syed