Why you may not need them

Although colds and runny noses make you feel miserable and unwell, you may not always need a prescription.

Viruses cause colds, flu and most sore throats and antibiotics are of no help in treatment.

If you have a viral infection your doctor may not want to prescribe an antibiotics since it will do no good and may cause side effects. All drugs can have side effects and the most common side effects with antibiotics are skin rashes, stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Many people attend their doctors feeling unwell and expect them to prescribe an antibiotic. If you, or someone you care for is normally fit and well and has a viral illness you should:

• Keep yourself comfortable
• Take Paracetamol, or other mild painkillers, to help relieve aches, pains and to reduce fever.
• Take plenty of fluids, which will soothe a sore throat and prevent you from getting dehydrated

If after a few days, you still feel poorly and don’t seem to be getting better, or you are in the least bit worried, do go back and see your doctor for more advice.

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