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Get the latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), a new illness that affects your lungs and airways.
Check if you have coronavirus symptoms
Find out about the main symptoms of coronavirus and where to get medical advice if you think you have them.
What to do if you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus
Advice about not leaving your home (self-isolation) and looking after yourself if you or someone you live with has symptoms.
Testing for coronavirus
Information about testing to check if you have coronavirus.
People at higher risk from coronavirus
Advice for people at higher risk from coronavirus, including older people, people with health conditions and pregnant women.
Coronavirus in children
Advice about symptoms of coronavirus in children, including when to get medical help if your child seems unwell.
Social distancing advice and changes to everyday life because of coronavirus
Advice about avoiding close contact with other people (social distancing), looking after your wellbeing and using the NHS and other services.
Links to more information about coronavirus
Links to government advice, information for health professionals and advice for other parts of the UK.
A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It can cause nasal stuffiness, a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat and a cough. Usually it's a self-limiting infection – this means it gets better by itself without the need for treatment.
On average, adults have two to five colds each year and school-age children can have up to eight colds a year. Adults who come into contact with children tend to get more colds. This is because children usually carry more of the virus, for longer.
In the UK, you’re more likely to get a cold during the winter months although the reasons why aren’t fully understood at present.
For most people, a cold will get better on its own within a week of the symptoms starting without any specific treatment. However, there are treatments that can help to ease your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable. These are available from your pharmacy, which means that you can treat yourself, rather than needing to see your GP.
There is no cure for colds. Antibiotics, which treat infections caused by bacteria, don't work on cold viruses.
There are a number of self-help measures that may help to ease the symptoms of a cold.
You should try to make sure you get enough rest if you have a cold. It’s not usually necessary to stay off work or school.
Colds & Flu A factsheet on the causes, symptoms, treatment & prevention of colds & the flu
NHS Choices - is it the common cold or the flu? Colds and flu can share some of the same symptoms (sneezing, coughing, sore throat) but are caused by different viruses, and flu can be much more serious. Find out
Factsheet - Common Cold Information about the diagnosis, treatment and symptoms of the common cold
Acute diarrhoea is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection and affects almost everyone from time to time. A common cause in both children and adults is gastroenteritis, an infection of the bowel.
Bouts of diarrhoea in adults may also be brought on by anxiety or drinking too much coffee or alcohol. Diarrhoea may also be a side effect of a medication
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