Treating Your Infection - Respiratory Tract Infection with pictures

Target: Keep antibiotics working logo with four pills making a target sign

A step-by step guide on how to manage your infection

Contents

  1. First, consider if you have COVID-19
  2. Get a COVID-19 test
  3. Help yourself to feel better
  4. Check how long your symptoms last
  5. Look out for serious symptoms
  6. Where to get help

1. First, consider if you have COVID-19

2. Get a COVID-19 test

A person holding up a COVID-19 test kit tube

If you have any of these symptoms, you should book a COVID-19 test, stay at home and self-isolate. See GOV.UK's webpage on coronavirus testing.

3. Help yourself to feel better

Whatever your infection, you can do the following to help.

For more information, visit the NHS website.

Most common infections get better without antibiotics. Find out how you can make better use of antibiotics by visiting the Antibiotic Guardian website.

4. Check how long your symptoms last

Earache

A woman holding her hand to her ear and frowning in pain

Most get better by 8 days.

Sore throat

A man holding a hand to his throat

Most get better by 7-8 days.

Cold

A woman holding a tissue to her nose

Most get better by 14 days.

Cough

A man holding a fist to his mouth as he coughs

Most get better by 21 days (may differ for a COVID-19 cough).

If you are not starting to improve a little by the times given above, seek advice from your GP practice.

If you are feeling a lot worse, phone NHS 111, NHS Direct Wales or NHS 24 (see step 6).

5. Look out for serious symptoms

Severe headache

A man holding his hand to his head with a pained expression

Trouble breathing

A man clutching his chest and leaning on a wall with his other hand

Chest pain

A man holding a hand to his chest

Coughing blood

A woman coughing blood into a tissue

Very cold skin

A person's arm with upright hairs and goosebumps

Feeling confused

A woman with a confused expression on her face

Problems swallowing

A woman holding a hand to her neck

Feeling a lot worse

A man holding his hands up to his mouth as he coughs

If you have COVID-19 and start to feel worse, including showing the signs above, seek immediate medical help from NHS 111 (call 111 or visit NHS 111 online).

6. Where to get help

NHS England - call 111 when it's less urgent than 999 NHS Direct Wales. Galw IECHYD Cymru. 0845 46 47 NHS Scotland. NHS 24. Call 111 Northern Ireland. Contact your GP practice. HSC. Public Health Agency

About this leaflet

Developed in collaboration with professional medical bodies. Version: 2. Published: October 2018. Revision date: November 2020.

 

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