Respiratory Tract Infection (RTI)

Your infection Most are better by… How to look after yourself and your family
Middle ear infection 8 days
  • Have plenty of rest
  • Drink enough fluids to avoid feeling thirsty
  • Ask your local pharmacist to recommend medicines to help your symptoms or pain (or both)
  • Fever is a sign the body is fighting the infection and usually gets better by itself in most cases. You can use paracetamol if you or your child are uncomfortable as a result of a fever.
  • Use a tissue and wash your hands with soap to help prevent spread of your infection to your family, friends and others you meet.


Sore throat 7-8 days
Sinusitis 14-21 days
Common cold 14 days
Cough or bronchitis 21 days (a cough caused by Covid-19 may differ)
Other infection ………days

If you develop these symptoms, consider if you may have COVID-19

Common symptoms of COVID-19 to look out for are:
1. A loss of, or change to your sense of smell or taste
2. A high temperature (over 38oC, feeling hot to touch on chest or back)
3. A new continuous cough (coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or
more coughing episodes within 24 hours)
• If you have any of these symptoms book a COVID-19 test, stay at home and selfisolate for 10 days or until you get a negative test result (
• Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home
for 14 days from the start of your symptoms, or until you get a negative test result.
• Call 111 or visit if you are worried or not sure what to do.
Visit or for more information

When to get help

If you or your child has any of these symptoms, are getting worse or are sicker than you would expect (even if your/their temperature falls),  trust your instincts and seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111 or your GP. If a child under the age of 5 has any of symptoms 1–3 go to A&E immediately or call 999.
1. If your skin is very cold or has a strange colour, or you develop an unusual rash.
2. If you have new feelings of confusion or drowsiness, or have slurred speech.
3. If you have difficulty breathing. Signs that suggest breathing problems can be:
• breathing quickly
• turning blue around the lips and the skin below the mouth
• skin between or above the ribs getting sucked or pulled in with every breath.
4. If you develop a severe headache and are sick.
5. If you develop chest pain.
6. If you have difficulty swallowing or are drooling.
7. If you cough up blood.
8. If you are passing little to no urine.
9. If you are feeling a lot worse.

Less serious signs that can usually wait until the next available appointment:
10. If you are not starting to improve a little by the time given in ‘Most are better by’
11. Children with middle-ear infection: if fluid is coming out of their ears or they have
new deafness.
12. Mild side effects such as diarrhea: seek medical attention if you are concerned.

Back-up antibiotic prescription to be collected after ……. days only if you are not starting to feel a little better or you feel worse, from   ……..
• Colds, most coughs, sinusitis, ear infections, sore throats, and other infections often get better without antibiotics, as your body can usually fight these infections on its own.
• Taking any antibiotics makes bacteria that live inside your body more resistant. This means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.
• Antibiotics can cause side effects such as rashes, thrush, stomach pains, diarrhoea, reactions to sunlight, other symptoms, or being sick if you drink alcohol with metronidazole.
• Find out more about how you can make better use of antibiotics and help keep this vital treatment effective by visiting
Never share antibiotics and always return any unused antibiotics to a pharmacy for safe disposal.

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