Effective treatments for the common cold - Bruce Arroll

Date Published: 
Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Rachel Jones talks to Dr Bruce Arroll about effective treatments for the common cold and how to avoid antibiotic prescriptions. Dr Arroll is Professor of General Practice at the University of Auckland and a GP in south Auckland.

What to do when you have a cold

  • Take time off work or school
  • Do not pass it on, cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • It may take up to a month for the cough to go away
  • Your symptoms should be getting better with time
  • See your doctor or go immediately to hospital if you feel very unwell or develop a rash.  Or call your GP practice - They will also have an after hours call service who can advise you
  • Get the influenza injection each year. You may be eligible for a free one
  • Take regular paracetamol/ibuprofen
  • Don’t spend money on expensive cough mixtures - most don’t work very well
  • Use Vicks on your chest and under your nose (there is evidence that this works in over 2 year olds)- helps with cough particularly with children
  • Use over the counter nasal sprays to clear up congestion such as Sinex. Cost approx $10.00
  • We can prescribe a nasal spray for runny nose which is funded and can be used with the over-the-counter sprays. It is called ipratropium
  • Give honey (there is evidence that it works). 1 tsp for 1-5 year olds (not for children under 1 years)
  • Avoid antibiotics they don’t work and cause side effects usually vomiting and diarrhoea

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This presentation is intended for qualified health practitioners professional development and should not be relied upon for any other purpose. Any opinions offered are those of the presenter or other speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of Goodfellow Unit.