Common Ailments and Treatment

Colds and most coughs, sinusitis, otitis media (earache) and sore throats usually get bettwe without antibiotics.


Lasts on average

What you can do to ease the symptoms

When should you or your child go back to the GP practice? (Listed in order of urgency, with the most urgent symptoms first.)

Ear infection

4 days

·         Have plenty of rest

·         Drink enough fluids to avoid feeling thirsty

·         Ask your local pharmacist to recommend medicines to lower your temperature or control pain (or both).


1.        If you develop a severe headache and are sick.

2.        If your skin is very cold or has a strange colour, or you develop an unusual rash.

3.        If you feel confused or have slurred speech or are very drowsy.

4.        If you have difficulty breathing. Signs that suggest breathing problems can include:

o    Breathing quickly

o    Turning blue around the lips and the skin below the mouth

o    Skin between or above the ribs getting sucked or pulled in with every breath

5.        If you develop chest pain.

6.        If you have difficulty swallowing or are drooling.

7.        If you cough up blood.

8.        If hearing problems develop or if there is fluid coming out of your ears (any earache in children).

9.        If you are feeling a lot worse or are not improving by the time given in the ‘Lasts on average’ column.


Sore throat

1 week

Common cold

10 days


2.5 weeks

Cough or bronchitis

3 weeks



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