If you are unfamiliar with the various treatment options for cold or flu then check out our self-help page. Remember to always discuss over-the-counter treatment with your local pharmacist so they can check if it is suitable for your condition and safe for you to take.
Colds in children aged 12 years and under
- Use ibuprofen or paracetamol to lower the child’s temperature if it is raised
- If there is a cough, a simple cough syrup should be used such as glycerol or honey and lemon
- Children under six years should not be given products containing:
- Antihistamines - brompheniramine, chlorphenamine, diphenhydramine, doxylamine, promethazine and triprolidine.
- Antitussives – dextromethorphan, pholcodine
- Expectorants – guaifenesin, ipecacuanha
- Nasal decongestans – phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, xylometazoline or oxymetazoline
- For children aged 6 to 12 years, cough and cold medicines should only be considered after the basic principles of best care have been tried and the duration of treatment should be no more than five days.
- Saline nose drops may be used for young babies who are having difficulty feeding
- Vapour rubs and inhalant decongestants may be used to provide relief from a stuffy nose
- Do not take more than the maximum daily dose of products and do not take other cough or cold products at the same time.
The following cold or flu treatments are available over the counter from your pharmacist
Below is a list of medication that eases pain symptoms related to cold and flu. You can obtain these from your local pharmacy without a prescription.
ParacetamolThis is a simple painkiller with few side effects and is safe to take with most medication.
Suitable for all ages:Calpol (liquid)
Suitable for ages 6 and up:Anadin Paracetamol
Suitable for ages 10 and up:Panadol
Suitable for ages 16 and up:Beechams Cold & Flu capsules/sachets
IbuprofenThis medication reduces inflammation. You should take it with food as it can cause stomach pain and is best avoided if you have a history of stomach ulcers.
Suitable for ages 3 months and up:Nurofen (liquid)
Suitable for ages 12 and up:Anadin ibuprofen
AspirinThis medication reduces inflammation. You should take it with food as it can cause stomach pain and is best avoided if you have a history of stomach ulcers or take medication that thins your blood.
Suitable for ages 16 and up:Alka-Seltzer
Co-codamol (codeine/paracetamol)These painkillers contain a combination of codeine and paracetamol and are suitable if your pain is not controlled by some of the simple painkillers listed above. The codeine may give you side effects such as drowsiness (which can affect driving), sickness or constipation.
Suitable for ages 12 and up:Panadol Ultra
Dihydrocodeine/ParacetamolThese painkillers contain a combination of codeine and paracetamol and are suitable if your pain is not controlled by some of the simple painkillers listed above. The codeine may give you side effects such as drowsiness (which can affect driving), sickness or constipation.
Suitable for ages 12 and up:Paramol
Codeine/ibuprofenThese painkillers contain a combination of codeine and ibuprofen and are suitable if your pain is not controlled by some of the simple painkillers listed above. The codeine may give you side effects such as drowsiness (which can affect driving), sickness or constipation.
Suitable for ages 12 and up:Nurofen Plus
|Calpol Soothe and Care Saline Nasal Spray/Drops|
|Calpol Blocked Nose Spray|
|Calpol Soothe and Care Vapour Plug and Nightlight|
|Covonia Vapour Drops|
|Mackenzies Smelling Salts|
|Non-Drowsy Sinutab Tablets|
|Neurofen Sinus and Blocked Nose Tablets|
|Otrivine Nasal Spray/Drops|
|RobiCold Sinus Relief|
|Snufflebabe Vapour Oil/Rub/Spray|
|Snufflebabe Nasal Aspirator/Drops|
|Vicks Syrup/Nasal Spray/Inhaler/Capsules/VapoRub|
Cold and flu symptoms
|Benylin Cold & Flu capsules|
|Contac Non Drowsy Dual Relief Tablets|
|Covonia Cold & Flu Formula|
|Day & Night Nurse Capsules/Liquid|
|Mentholatum Vapour Rub|
|Multi-Action Actifed Tablets|
Although some people find cough medicines helpful, medicines that claim to suppress your cough or stop you bringing up phlegm are not usually recommended. This is because there is little evidence to suggest they’re any more effective than simple home remedies such as honey and lemon with hot water.
|Benylin Chesty Cough|
|Benylin Mucus Cough|
|Covonia Chesty Cough|
|Lemsip Cough Chesty|
|Hill’s Balsam Cough Liquid|
|J Collis Browne’s Mixture|
|Jackson’s All Fours The Original Liquid|
|Multi-Action Actifed Chesty Coughs|
|Potter's Chest Mixture|
|Pulmo Bailly Liquid|
|Robitussin Chesty Cough Medicine|
|Sudafed Chesty Coughs with decongestant liquid|
|Vicks Cough Lozenges with Honey|
|Veno's Cough Syrup|
|Veno's Honey & Lemon|
Sore throat lozenges
Sore throat lozenges typically work by ‘numbing’ the pain symptoms in the affected area or by providing an anti-inflammatory action.
|Beechams sore throat lozenges|
|Dequacaine lozenges (contains Benzocaine)|
|Dequaspray (contains Lidocaine)|
|Meggezones (contains Menthol)|
|Merocaine lozenges (contains Benzocaine)|
|Strepsils lozenges (contains Flurbipfrofen)|
|Vocalzone Throat Pastilles|
Sore throat sprays
Sore throat sprays similar to lozenges typically work by ‘numbing’ the pain symptoms in the affected area or by providing an anti-inflammatory action.
|AAA Sore Throat Spray (contains benzocaine)|
|Covonia Throat Spray (contains chlorhexidine and lidocaine)|
|Ultra Chloraseptic Anesthetic Throat Spray (contains benzocaine)|
|Difflam Spray (contains benzydamine)|
|Difflam Sore Throat Rinse (contains benzydamine)|
Over-the-counter treatments listed on this page are available at your local pharmacy. Find your closest pharmacy below.