Back to Basics for Treating Cold and Flu

Back to Basics for Treating Cold and Flu

Back to Basics for Treating Cold and Flu

Viruses are the most common cause of a sore throat, often the first sign of a winter cold. In fact, some sources quote that viruses are responsible for up to 95 per cent of adult sore throats. Viruses cannot be cured by antibiotics yet antibiotics are still widely used as a remedy. Sore throats can be the most painful and unbearable symptom of a winter cold but it is little known that it is actually the inflammation in the throat that causes the pain.

So if antibiotics don't work and the inflammation is causing the pain, what are the recommended remedies to help relieve the symptoms of cold and flu? A leading healthcare expert takes a look at traditional remedies such as rest and good hydration but also suggests gargling with dissolvable aspirin could be helpful.

'It's a common misconception that antibiotics can be used to cure cold or flu, they can't. Antibiotics can sometimes be effective in treating bacterial infections but not viral infections. Instead, the common cold or flu infections can only be cured by our own immune system producing specific antibodies. In most cases a cold or flu will resolve in 4-7 days, but during this time there are a number of non-prescription remedies that can help treat the symptoms, including some traditional tried and tested ones," said John Bell, Specialist Practitioner Teacher in Primary Health Care at University of Technology, Sydney.

'Aspirin has been produced for more than 160 years. As it's an analgesic it can help relieve the pain of a sore throat, caused by the common cold and flu viruses; especially so, when gargled after dissolving in water.

'The aspirin acts as a local anesthetic, quickly targeting and numbing the pain as well as relieving the inflammation in your throat. Simply place two dissolvable aspirin tablets, like Aspro Clear, into a glass of warm water and gargle for 30 seconds," said John Bell.

As antibiotic resistance is increasing at an alarming rate in Australia, John Bell agrees greater awareness of alternative options is needed.

'It's timely to raise awareness that there are simple, traditional remedies to treat a sore throat, cold and flu as an alternative to inappropriate and unnecessary antibiotics," said John Bell.

Back to basics - Tackle cold and flu season the traditional way

Each year in Australia it is estimated colds and flu cause 1,500,000 lost work days in all types of workplaces. Last year, more than 88 million days were lost to the Australian economy due to absenteeism, at a cost of $27.5 billion per annum in sick leave costs and lost productivity. Research shows the cost to businesses was $2,741 per employee per annum.

This year, ensure you're prepared for cold and flu season. Stock up on traditional remedies: hearty, vegetable-rich chicken soup; the hot steam helps relieve congestion, the vegetables help nourish and the liquid hydrates.

'Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water and consider gargling with dissolvable effervescent aspirin like Aspro Clear, to help relieve throat pain and swelling," said John Bell.

Fast Facts

Approximately 3,500 scientific articles about aspirin are published per year


The number of 50mg aspirin tablets manufactured each year is around 100 billion


Aspirin was taken into space as part of the on-board medicine kit on all of the Apollo rockets that NASA sent to the moon. Aspirin was included on-board space shuttles for both the orbital lunar flights in 1968/69 and the seven moon landings from 1969 to 1972 (Apollo 11 to Apollo 17)

In 2013, Aspirin celebrates 160 years from the day French chemist Charles Frederic Gerhardt first produced aspirin's active ingredient in a form that was safe for human consumption

Aspro Clear is available in two strengths: Regular and Extra Strength. Regular strength Aspro Clear provides 300 mg of aspirin per tablet, while Extra Strength contains 500 mg of aspirin per tablet