Get ready.


Winter illnesses are not usually serious but they can make us feel very unwell. The facts below will help you to manage your winter ailments such as cold, cough and sore throats.



Symptoms - Cold symptoms are often different from flu. The symptoms can develop slowly and can include a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat and slight fever. These can often last for up to ten days.

Colds are generally harmless infections that get better without the need to visit the surgery.

What can I do?- It is important you rest and drink lots of fluids. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can help ease symptoms. You local pharmacy can help with symptom release.

When do I seek help?-  Contact your surgery or NHS 111 if you have:

  • A very high temperature or you feel hot and shivery.
  • A long term medical condition such as Diabetes or a heart, lunng or kidney problem
  • A weakened immune system
  • Chest pain
  • Blood when you cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the glands in your neck or armpits
  • Symptoms lasting over 3 weeks.


Sore throat

Symptoms-  Painful throat, especially when swallowing or a dry, scratchy throat and usually lasts 7 days without treatment.

What can I do?-  Suck lozenges, ice cubes or ice lollies - but do not give lozenges or hard sweets to young children.  Drink lots of fluids. Gargling with warm salty water (Children should not try this). Avoid smoking and smoky places.

When to seek help? Contact your surgery or NHS 111 if:

  • symptoms last 10-14 days or get worse.
  • You have a sore throat and a very hot temperature, or you feel hot and shivery.
  • You have difficulty swallowing and severe pain.
  • You are dehydrated.
  • You have a weakened immune system.



Symptoms- Coughing is common. 1 in 5 people will get a cough in winter. Symptoms can last up to 3 days or in some cases 8 weeks.

What can I do?- The pharmacy can suggest which cough medications to take. Home remidies such as hot water with lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey can aslo help. (not suitable for babies under one)

When to seek help-  Contact the surgery or NHS 111 if you have:

  • A cough lasting more than 3 weeks
  • Chest or shoulder pain
  • Blood when you cough
  • Are breathless
  • Have weight loss for no reason over the last 6 months
  • Hoarseness or changes in the voice for longer than 3 weeks that continues once the cough is better.
  • New lumps or swelling around your neck and above your collarbones.




Symptoms- High temperature, aches and pains,  tiredness, headaches and dry chesty cough.

What can I do?- Rest, keep warm and drink plenty of water. Paracetamol or Ibuprofen can help ease symptoms.

When to seek help?- You are worried about your babies or child's symptoms, symptoms do not improve after 7 day, you are over 65, you are pregnant, you have a weakened immune system or a long term condition.




Symptoms- Vomitting and diarrhoea, a slight fever, headaches, stomach cramps and aching limbs.

What can I do?- Stay at home and rest, drink lots of fluids, take paracetamol if needed. Phone your pharmacy for advice on how to relieve your symptoms.

When to seek help- If there is blood in your Diarrhoea, your symptoms havent improved after a few days, you have a serious underlying condition.