Open Hours
Healthy Living Zone
What we have to say about your health and well being
Sep 2022
Cold, Flu or Covid-19

Cold, Flu or Covid-19

As we approach autumn we are entering the cold and flu season. Hence it is important to recognise the symptoms, know how to treat it and prevent speedreading the virus to others.

Cold, flu and Covid-19 will often get better on its own without seeing a GP. But flu and Covid-19 can make some people seriously ill so it is important to get vaccinated if you are advised to.

What is the difference between Cold and Flu and covid-19

Cold, FLU and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, cold symptoms are generally milder, come on gradually and mostly affect nose and throat, whereas flu and Covid-19 symptoms are more sever,come on very quickly and can cause mild to severe respiratory infection where it affects nose, throat and lungs. The main symptom that is linked with Covid-19 and it is not present in cold and flu is shortness of breath. The symptoms are more or less the same in both adults and children, however flu in childrenbeen associated with ear ache but Covid-19 symptoms are generally milder in children and most get better in few days.

Cold Symptoms Covid-19 Flu symptoms
Raised temperature High temperature or shivering (chills) High temperature or shivering (chills)
Sore throat Sore throat Sore throat
Headaches Headache Headache
Coughs Shortness of breath Dry cough
Sneezing Feeling tired or exhausted Feeling tired or exhausted
Aching body Aching body Aching body
Blocked or runny nose Blocked or runny nose Difficulty sleeping
Pressure in your ears and face New, continuous cough, this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours Feeling sick and being sick
Loss of taste and smell Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste Diarrhoea or tummy pain
  Loss of appetite Loss of appetite

What to do if you are having the symptoms or testing positive for Covid-19

You or your child should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you don’t feel well or have high temperature. You should onlygo back to work or school once feel better and your test is negative.

Get advice from 111 if your child:

  • is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38C or higher, or you think they have a fever
  • is 3 to 6 months old and has a temperature of 39C or higher, or you think they have a fever
  • has other signs of illness, such as a rash, as well as a high temperature (fever)
  • has a high temperature that's lasted for 5 days or more
  • does not want to eat, or is not their usual self and you're worried
  • has a high temperature that does not come down with Paracetamol
  • is dehydrated – for example, nappies are not very wet, sunken eyes, and no tears when they're crying

when to call 999 or go to A&E

  • if you are so breathless that you're unable to say short sentences when resting
  • your breathing has got suddenly worse
  • you cough up blood
  • you feel cold and sweaty, with pale or blotchy skin
  • you have a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin and does not fade when you roll a glass over it
  • you collapse or faint
  • you feel agitated, confused or very drowsy
  • • you've stopped peeing or are peeing much less thanusual

Treating yourself at home

Cold Covid-19 Flu
Rest and sleep Get plenty of rest Rest and sleep
Drink plenty of water (fruit juice or squash mixed with water is OK) to avoid dehydration Drink plenty of water (fruit juice or squash mixed with water is OK) to avoid dehydration Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)
Gargle salt water to soothe a sore throat (not suitable for children) Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
If you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better. To ease cough, best to avoid lying on your back, try to have teaspoon of honey with ginger but do not give honey to babies under 12months Keep warm
  For breathlessness keep the room cool and open a window, breath slowly through you nose, sit upright in a chair, relax your shoulder but do not hunch and most importantly do not panic as this can make it worse  

A pharmacist can advise and recommend best medication to manage your symptoms so always get in touch with your pharmacist before booking a GP appointment.

Temperature and aches: can be treated with Paracetamol and Ibuprofen but be careful when taking remedies as they also can contain the same ingredients which can lead to over dose.

Block nose: can be treated with decongestant sprayand tablets. It is important to note that decongestion should not be used in children under age of 6. Nasal decongestion should not be sed for longer than 5 consecutive days as this can lead to rebound congestion.

Some medication and remedies are not suitable for babies, pregnant and breastfeeding women. Always check with your pharmacist or GP.

Get advice from 111 if:

  • your cold symptoms do not improve after 3 weeks and flu symptoms after 7 days.
  • your symptoms get suddenly worse.
  • your temperature is very high or you feel hot and shivery.
  • you're concerned about your child's symptoms.
  • you're feeling short of breath or develop chest pain.
  • you have a long-term medical condition – for example, diabetes, or a heart, lung or kidney condition.
  • you have a weakened immune system – for example, because you're having chemotherapy.
  • you have flu and are pregnant.
  • you have flu and you are 65 or over.

They can advise you what to do and arrange for you to speak to a nurse or doctor if you need one.

Ways to prevent the spread of the virus

Cold, flu and Covid-19 are caused by viruses that is attached to the lining of your nose and throatso they spread easily to others by sneezes and coughs. Withcold you are contagions from the time your symptoms appear until all your symptoms resolved. Whereas with flu you are likely to pass it to others in the first 5 days.Covid-19infection can be spread even when you are asymptomatic through breathing, speaking, cough or sneeze.

To reduce the risk of spreading:

  • Get vaccinated against Covid-19 and flu
  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap or use hand sanitiser regularly
  • Use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
  • Bin used tissues as quickly as possible
  • Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities

Flu vaccine

Flu vaccine is safe and effective vaccine that it is offered every year on NHS that helps to reduce the risk of getting flu and any of its potentially serious complications and if you do still catch it the infection is likely to be milder and shorter in duration. Flu vaccine is particularly important this year as due to COVID-19 fewer people have developed natural immunity and if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time you are more likely to become seriously ill.

People who are eligible to have the flu vaccine free on NHS:

  • are 50 and over (including those who'll be 50 by 31 March 2023)
  • have certain health conditions
    • respiratory conditions, such as asthma (needing steroid inhaler or tablets), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and bronchitis
    • diabetes
    • heart conditions, such as coronary heart disease or heart failure
    • being very overweight – a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
    • chronic kidney disease
    • liver disease, such as hepatitis
    • neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
    • a learning disability
    • problems with your spleen, for example, sickle cell disease, or if you have had your spleen removed
    • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or taking medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • are pregnant
  • are in long-stay residential care
  • receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • frontline health or social care workers
  • Secondary school-aged children focusing on years 7, 8 and 9 and any remaining vaccine will be offered to years 10 and 11, subject to vaccine availability.

For more information regarding flu vaccine and booking get in touch with your community pharmacy.

Covid-19 vaccine

for more information regarding Covid-19 vaccine in adult and children please visit


I C G House Station Approach
Oldfield Lane North, London
Greater London
020 8578 2634
If you don't speak English, we offer advice in any language. Please contact us via email or via Whatsapp / SMS on +44 7961 227 580
Company Registration:
Premises GPhC Number:
Mona Golparvar (2084634)
Polite notice:
There is no face to face contact for NHS Services, if you need NHS services please contact us only by phone or email
Cookie Policy
Privacy Policy
Terms And Conditions
Copyright 2024