A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses, and upper airways. It is a common infection and usually clears up on its own within a week or two. If you are fit and healthy, it is unlikely to be serious. Painkillers can help reduce the symptoms of colds.


The symptoms of a cold usually develop within a day or two of becoming infected and they include:

A sore throat, blocked or runny nose, sneezing, cough.

A hoarse voice, generally feeling unwell, fever, headache, earache.

Muscle pain, loss of taste and smell, mild irritation of your eyes.

The symptoms are usually at their worst during the first two to three days, before they gradually start to improve. In adults and older children, they usually last about 7 to 10 days, but can last longer. A cough can last for two or three weeks.

Colds tend to last longer in younger children who are under five, typically lasting around 10 to 14 days.

Treatment/ Self-help tips

There is no cure for a cold, but you can look after yourself at home by: 

Resting, drinking plenty of fluids and eating healthily, taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to reduce any fever or discomfort.

Using decongestant sprays or tablets to relieve a blocked nose, trying remedies such as gargling salt water, and sucking on menthol sweets.

Many painkillers and decongestants are available from pharmacies without a prescription. They are generally safe for older children and adults to take.

However, they might not be suitable for babies, young children, pregnant women, people with certain underlying health conditions, and those taking certain other medications.

When do you get in touch with Sandsclinic?

Most people with common cold do not really need a doctor however, we are your doctors and would always be there to help especially if your symptoms persist for more than three weeks or gets worse. In addition, if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain or coughing up blood-stained sputum or worried about common cold symptoms in a baby, pregnant woman or an elderly person or a person with a health condition, please get in touch.