No specific treatment is required for mild viral respiratory infections. Most people recover with rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Paracetamol may be used for relief of symptoms but must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Aspirin should not be given to children under 12 years of age unless specifically recommended by a doctor.
Antiviral medication may be used for severe or prolonged viral respiratory infections such as influenza virus infection. Antibiotics do not help even though they are often prescribed.
When to seek medical advice
Seek medical advice if you are concerned about your symptoms or have any of the following:
- worsening symptoms
- shortness of breath
- difficulty breathing
- inability to keep liquids down because of vomiting
- symptoms of dehydration (such as being dizzy when standing or passing much less urine than normal).