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Common cold


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The main symptoms of a cold include a blocked or runny nose, a sore throat and coughing.

You can ease cold symptoms by resting, drinking plenty of water and using decongestants (not suitable for young children) and painkillers.

Colds are caused by viruses that spread easily through coughs, sneezes and touching surfaces. You're infectious until all your symptoms are gone.

Regularly washing your hands and not touching your eyes or nose can help you avoid catching a cold.

The common cold is an infection of your nose and throat. Colds are caused by viruses and are not treated with antibiotics.

Page last reviewed: 22/03/2024
Next review due: 22/03/2027