Review Articles

Colds and flu – an overview of the management

Halima Ismail, Natalie Schellack
South African Family Practice | Vol 59, No 3 : May/June| a4704 | DOI: | ©
Submitted: 28 June 2017 | Published:

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Halima Ismail, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa
Natalie Schellack, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa

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The common cold and flu are two very different viruses that share very similar symptoms. The common cold is a self-limiting upper respiratory tract infection and it is caused by the rhinovirus, coronavirus or the adenovirus. It usually resolves within 7-10 days. The flu is caused by the influenza virus and usually presents with headaches, myalgia, fever and body aches. There is no place for antibiotic usage in colds and flu and there is no clinical evidence which suggests that using antibiotics alters the course of the disease or prevents secondary infection. Treatment is mainly symptomatic and includes many over the counter medicines, antivirals and herbal treatment.


colds; flu; rhinovirus; coronavirus; adenovirus; influenza; upper respiratory tract infections; herbal medicine; antivirals; over-the-counter medicine


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