The common cold is one of the most common health conditions amongst people in the UK; it is particularly amongst children and elderly people. Colds are caused by viral infections which affect the upper respiratory tract; they can be spread easily by means of saliva droplets, which can be released by coughing or sneezing or coming into contact with traces of the virus that may be present on used tissues or surfaces that haven’t been cleaned, for example.

Symptoms of a cold

Colds cause a feeling of being generally run down and tired but they also contribute to many other symptoms, including:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore ears
  • Blocked nose
  • Cough
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Changes in appetite
  • High temperature

Treating a cold

There is no cure for a cold as it is caused by a viral infection; however, there are treatments that can ease the symptoms. Over the counter pain relief will help to ease aches and pains and bring temperature down and antibiotics may be used to treat ear infections. If you have a cold you should try and get plenty of rest and make sure you take in plenty of water; wrap up warm if you go outside and inhale steam to clear your head and nasal passages.

Guide to Ear, Nose and Throat Conditions

Ear, Nose and Throat



Glue ear

Infectious mononucleosis




Staying healthy