5 tips for respiratory tract infections

1. Encourage self-management of acute RTIs and discuss antibiotic resistance. Research shows the message is still not registering with patients.

2. Be frank about cough and cold medicines - OTC cough medicine is an option for patients who find them soothing, but there is no good evidence to suggest they work;

3. RTIs take longer than most people think so provide realistic advice on duration of illness:

  • acute otitis media: 4 days
  • acute sore throat/acute pharyngitis/acute tonsillitis: 1 week
  • common cold: 1.5 weeks