Little boy driking water with lemon sitting on a couch


Over-the-counter medicines and traditional herbal remedies

It is widely estimated that the average person will catch around 200 colds in their lifetime and, most winters, we resign ourselves to the fact that sniffles and sneezes are more than likely to take hold.

When the inevitable happens and we catch a cold, or even worse the flu virus, where should we turn? It’s tempting to head straight to the GP and ask for flu treatment. However, colds and flu are caused by viruses and not bacteria, so antibiotics and other prescription drugs are often ineffective and will not treat these symptoms. In fact, a study by NESTA revealed that 76 per cent of GPs are still prescribing antibiotics when they are unsure if an infection is bacterial – which could lead to longer term problems, such as antibiotic resistance.

There is a vast quantity of cold and flu treatments available from your pharmacy, from traditional herbal remedies to over-the-counter medicines. With market research agencies such as Mintel predicting natural beauty and personal care to be one of the biggest trends this year, surely this will impact on how people make decisions about what medicines, treatments and remedies they choose for themselves and their families. But when it comes to effective relief, do natural treatments provide the same efficacy as over-the-counter drugs?

Colds and flu treatment: over-the-counter medicines and traditional herbal remedies infographic

There is no right or wrong treatment for fighting colds and flu, it’s about understanding your symptoms and making the right choices for you and your family. If you’re ever in doubt, speak to your pharmacist or doctor who can help to make you feel more confident about the options and can offer expert advice.

If you’re worried that a common cold is escalating and could develop into a fever, the Braun range of easy to use digital thermometers are fit for all the family. If you are ever unsure about any symptoms or treatments this cold and flu season, always consult a qualified medical professional – particularly if you’re elderly, pregnant or caring for a baby.