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Medicines Talk issue41

NPS Medicinewise Living

NPS - Medicines Talk issue 41

This issue of Medicines Talk contains articles on tackling anxiety, medicines and machinery, antibiotics use, talking about medicines in hospital.
Written by consumers for consumers, Medicines Talk is a free quarterly newsletter that gives you reliable, accurate information and useful hints on managing your medicines.

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Common Cold

NPS Medicinewise Living

Common cold

Anyone can get a cold at any time and they are very common:

  • children can get about 5-10 colds per year
  • adults can get 2-4 colds per year
  • children get more colds than adults because they are not immune to as many cold viruses as adults are.

Colds are caused by a virus. There are about 200 different viruses that can cause a cold and each one is slightly different. That is why you can get one cold after another. Once your immune system has fought off an infection with one particular cold virus, you will be immune to that virus. The cold is also called acute viral rhinosinusitis.

The common cold is not the same as flu (influenza). Flu is caused by a completely different virus (influenza virus A or B), and has much more severe symptoms. However the cold virus can still make you feel unwell and is usually more than just a runny nose.

For more information about the common colds and the problem of resistance, please visit NPS at

Cold/Coughs/Flu Medicines

NPS Medicinewise Living

Cough and cold medicines in young children:
New TGA advice


The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has released new advice restricting the use of cough and cold medicines in young children. This advice comes amidst concerns they have limited efficacy and may even be harmful.


A review conducted by the TGA found that there was little credible research showing the effectiveness of cough and cold medicines, particularly in children, and these medicines should not be given to children younger than 6 years old. The advice also recommends that parents should also ask a doctor, pharmacist or nurse practitioner for advice before giving cough and cold medicines to children aged 6 to 11 years.


Clinical trials have shown that some of the active ingredients in cough and cold medicines may cause serious side effects in children, for example seizures.


To reflect the new advice, labels on these medicines are being changed to indicate that they should not be given to children under 6, and that consumers should ask their doctor, pharmacist or nurse practitioner before giving the medicine to children aged 6 to 11.


In light of this advice, health professionals are reminded of some other simple remedies that can be used to manage a child’s cough or cold symptoms, including:

      Plenty of rest and water

      Avoiding cigarette smoke

      Steam from a hot shower or bath (supervised)

      Hot honey and lemon drink

      Ice cube or sore throat lozenge to soothe a sore throat (for older children)

      Paracetamol to ease the discomfort of fever


To read updated information about cough and cold medicines on the NPS MedicineWise website go to


More information can also be found on the TGA website.

Register now

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NPS clinical audits

First online NPS Clinical e-Audit for GPs now available - Management of specific respiratory tract infections


GPs can register for and complete the audit via


This activity is part of the Antibiotic resistance and respiratory tract infections program and allows GPs to review their management in comparison with best practice clinical indicators and their peers.

 Order Now

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Healthy Communities program updates

Why do some people need antibiotics?


NPS has developed a bilingual brochure on acute respiratory infections for seniors and those with chronic conditions. The brochure explains why some people are more likely to be prescribed antibiotics than others and offers tips on preventing the spread of infection.


Available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Croatian, Greek, Italian, Korean, Macedonian and Vietnamese, this resource can be ordered or downloaded at:


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 Updated 13 July 2012 

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