The colder months are the prime time for bugs to spread, as germs from coughs and sneezes can live on our hands and surfaces for up to 24 hours. However, there are plenty of preventative measures and remedies you can take to help combat and treat common illness during the autumn and winter months.
LloydsPharmacy Pharmacist Anshu Kaura shares her advice on how to treat coughs, colds, sore throats and flu at home this winter.
LloydsPharmacy Pharmacist Anshu says: “On average, UK adults will get around 2-3 colds per year. Although colds only last around 1-2 weeks, they can make you feel unwell and fatigued, and therefore may have an impact on your physical and emotional wellbeing. However, if you do end up catching a cold or the flu, there are many remedies to help you start feeling better. As well as colds and flu, sore throats and coughs are very common during the winter and may either appear on their own or as a symptom of a cold or the flu.”
Anshu provides advice and recommends treatment for the most common seasonal ailments.
Anshu explains: “Coughs are a reflex action which help to clear the airways from irritants or mucus when you are unwell. Most coughs should clear up within three weeks, however they can sometimes linger a little longer, especially if you have recently had a cold or a bout of flu.
“It’s important to remember that coughs are not usually a cause for concern and they will usually disappear on their own. You should only need to seek medical help from your GP if you have had a cough for more than three weeks, if you have chest pain or if you are finding it hard to breathe.
“However, your pharmacist will be able to help if you are experiencing a cough which is causing some discomfort. They will be able to recommend treatments to help alleviate the irritating symptoms you may be experiencing.
“There are two main types of cough, dry or productive (otherwise known as chesty or a mucus cough). The treatment you choose to help alleviate your symptoms should depend on which of the types of coughs you have.”
Anshu continues: “Dry coughs tend to be characterised by a tickly irritation at the back of the throat. This type of cough may be caused by an upper respiratory tract infection, an allergy or a respiratory condition flare-up caused by asthma or COPD.
TRY: LloydsPharmacy Dry Tickly Cough Oral Solution, 300ml, £4.99
LloydsPharmacy’s Dry Tickly Cough Oral Solution works to relieve the symptoms of tickly coughs and sore throats, providing soothing relief. The product contains glycerin, honey and glucose. Consult your GP or pharmacist before use if you are diabetic, pregnant or breastfeeding. Always read the label.
Anshu explains: “Productive coughs will produce phlegm or mucus and are usually caused by a viral infection. A productive cough is a result of the body clearing the airways of mucus, therefore is a healthy bodily function.”
TRY: LloydsPharmacy Mucus Cough Oral Solution, 300ml, £4.99
LloydsPharmacy Mucus Cough acts to relieve thick sticky mucus from the chest, easing the symptoms of mucus coughs and colds. It loosens phlegm and mucus, soothing and relieving coughs.
Consult your doctor before use if you are on any medication, if you are undergoing medical tests, if you have asthma or if you have an intolerance to some sugars. Always read the label.
Anshu comments: “Sore throats are often caused by a viral or bacterial infection and will either appear on their own or as a symptom of a cold and the flu.
In some cases a sore throat could be a symptom of laryngitis, tonsillitis, strep throat or glandular fever. However, these conditions will often be accompanied by other symptoms such as a hoarse voice (laryngitis), red or spotty tonsils (tonsillitis), swollen neck glands (strep throat) or fever (glandular fever). If you are experiencing these symptoms, we recommend you visit your local pharmacist or GP.
“If you have a sore throat drinking plenty of cool fluids and eating soft foods can often help to soothe the discomfort, and it is thought that gargling warm salty water can also help ease symptoms. As well as natural measures, medicated throat lozenges can help to alleviate the painful symptoms and some have an antiseptic ingredient to help fight bacteria which may be causing your sore throat.
LloydsPharmacy Double Action Throat Lozenges contain both antiseptic and anaesthetic properties. The antiseptic properties help fight bacteria which may be causing your sore throat, whilst the anaesthetic properties may help soothe the pain and discomfort.
Anshu explains: “Whilst the symptoms of flu are much worse than that of a cold, you should begin to feel better in around a week, without the need to see your GP.
“The symptoms of flu are varied but can appear rapidly. The most common symptoms to look out for include fatigue, high-temperature, bodily aches and pains, a cough, sore throat, headaches and in some cases nausea.
“Due to the vast number of symptoms that flu can present, your pharmacist may recommend an ‘all in one’ medicine. If you are taking a number of medicines, it’s important to be cautious of the ingredients each product contains, as to not take over the recommended dose of individual ingredients. For example, many flu remedies contain ibuprofen or paracetamol, and therefore you shouldn’t need to take these separately. For those who prefer natural remedies, tablets containing Echinacea can also help provide relief from the symptoms of the flu. You can also protect yourself against getting the flu by getting the flu jab which is available at LloydsPharmacy.”
LloydsPharmacy Max Strength Cold & Flu Capsules contain a combination of ingredients, including paracetamol and caffeine, to help provide relief from headaches, sore throats, fatigue, fever and bodily aches and pains associated with the flu. For use by adults, and children over 12 years old. Always read the label.
Lloydspharmacy Echinacea Cold and Flu Relief Tablets contain natural extracts from the Echinacea plant. LloydsPharmacy Echinacea Cold and Flu Relief Tablets is a traditional herbal medicinal product based exclusively on traditional use to help relieve the symptoms of a cold and the flu. Suitable for use by adults, elderly and children over 12 years old. Always read the label.
Anshu says: “Colds are viral infections which affect your sinuses, causing nasal symptoms such as a blocked or runny nose, as well as sneezing. The cold virus can also cause coughs, sore throats, headaches, and loss of taste and smell.
“The common cold will tend to last 1 – 2 weeks and can be treated at home with advice from your local pharmacy. There is still the common misconception that antibiotics can help ‘cure a cold’ however, as colds are usually caused by a viral infection, not a bacterial infection, this is not the case.
“You can aid your recovery by resting, drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and eating healthily.
“Your pharmacist can also provide advice on remedies which may help alleviate your symptoms as well as lifestyle tips to ensure a speedy and safe recovery.
“There are also a number of ways that you can try and prevent a cold, including washing your hands regularly, staying fit and healthy and avoiding sharing items with someone who already has a cold.”
LloydsPharmacy Cold Relief Capsules are designed to help relieve the sinus congestion associated with colds, as well as provide relief from aches and pains and fever. The product also contains a decongestant to help relieve catarrh and nasal congestion. Suitable for use by adults and children over 12 years old. Always read the label.
DON’T FORGET TRUSTY TISSUEs . . . LloydsPharmacy Balsam Facial Tissues, £1.49
LloydsPharmacy Balsam Facial Tissues contain protective balsam which as well as providing practical support can help to soothe a sore nose.