With so many people falling ill, pharmacies are experiencing a high demand for not only the influenza vaccine, but also cold and flu medication. 

In the past week alone, Queensland home doctors have reported 1,843 cases of influenza, as 2019 continues to be one of the worst flu seasons yet.

If you’re suffering from a cold or the flu and are searching for some relief, here’s a breakdown of what to look for when treating your symptoms.


An ongoing cough can be annoying and uncomfortable. If you have a dry cough, try a syrup that contains cough suppressants.

Look for dextromethorphan in your cough medicine, as it creates a numbing affect that eases the tickle. Some however can make you drowsy so it’s best to leave the cough syrup for bedtime.

A wet cough, while unpleasant, is helpful.  Most after-hours doctors and pharmacies recommend leaving this type of cough as it’s a sign your body is successfully fighting off an infection.

Sore throat

Bacterial infections and inflammation can leave you with a scratchy throat. Paracetamol is often recommended to help subside the pain signals sent to the brain, which will make you far more comfortable.

For fast and targeted pain relief, medicated lozenges and gargles are recommended. Remember, these medications are the same as oral medication, so limit your usage and be careful when used in conjunction with tablets. Ask your local pharmacy about what you should or shouldn’t be taking for your sickness.

Runny nose

If you’re going through a tissue box a day, you may want to try pseudoephedrine, which is found in most cold and flu tablets.

This ingredient helps to slow down a runny nose by stimulating vasoconstriction. The tightening of blood vessels in your nose helps to reduce inflammation and irritation, which calms down the mucus glands, meaning less sniffles.

Body pain and headaches

It’s common to experience aches and muscle fatigue when sick with the flu.

To relieve the aches, paracetamol and ibuprofen are your best bet. Keep in mind, most cold and flu tablets include pain relief medicine, so be careful you don’t double up with additional tablets.

Remember, everything is made worse by dehydration. Coughing, a runny nose and nausea associated with the flu can dry out your system. Before taking medication, ensure you are well hydrated.


Fevers need to be monitored. Depending on the severity of a fever, you may need to seek medical attention. 

For infants under three months, any temperature over 37°C requires a consultation with a GP or home doctor. Adults with fevers lasting more than 48 hours should also have a consultation.

For a standard flu-related fever, paracetamol will help the body cool down by reducing the release of prostaglandins, which increases body temperature.