RTI Pictorial Leaflet

RTI Pictorial Leaflet - HTML

Target: Keep antibiotics working logo with four pills making a target sign

A step-by step guide on how to manage your infection


  1. Help yourself to feel better
  2. Check how long your symptoms last
  3. Consider if you have COVID-19
  4. Look out for serious symptoms
  5. Where to get help

1. Help yourself to feel better

Whatever your infection, you can do the following to help.

Two white circular paracetamol tables

Take paracetamol to help pain; always follow the instructions 

A woman in consultation with a pharmacist at a pharmacy

Ask your pharmacist for advice on reducing your symptoms

A man asleep on a bed

Get plenty of rest until you feel better

A woman drinking from a bottle of water

Drink enough fluids to avoid feeling thirsty 

A woman using a tissue to blow her nose

Use tissues when you sneeze to help stop infections spreading

A pair of hands being washed next to a running tap in a sink

Wash your hands regularly and after using tissues to sneeze

For more information, visit the NHS website.

Most common infections get better without antibiotics. Find out how you can make better use of antibiotics by visiting the Managing Your Common Infection self-care leaflet.

2. Check how long your symptoms last


A woman holding her hand to her ear and frowning in pain

Most get better by 8 days.

Sore throat

A man holding a hand to his throat

Most get better by 7-8 days.


A woman holding a tissue to her nose

Most get better by 14 days.


A man holding a fist to his mouth as he coughs

Most get better by 21 days (may differ for a COVID-19 cough).

If you are not starting to improve a little by the times given above, seek advice from your GP practice.

If you are feeling a lot worse, phone NHS 111, NHS Direct Wales or NHS 24 (see step 6).

3. Consider if you have COVID-19

COVID-19 specific advice

If you think you may have COVID-19 then please visit GOV.UK's coronavirus section and the NHS for the latest guidance and information.

Speak to NHS111, a pharmacist or your GP if you are worried about COVID-19.

4. Look out for serious symptoms

Severe headache

A man holding his hand to his head with a pained expression

Trouble breathing

A man clutching his chest and leaning on a wall with his other hand

Chest pain

A man holding a hand to his chest

Coughing blood

A woman coughing blood into a tissue

Very cold skin

A person's arm with upright hairs and goosebumps

Feeling confused

A woman with a confused expression on her face

Problems swallowing

A woman holding a hand to her neck

Feeling a lot worse

A man holding his hands up to his mouth as he coughs

If you have COVID-19 and start to feel worse, including showing the signs above, seek immediate medical help from NHS 111 (call 111 or visit NHS 111 online).

5. Where to get help

NHS England - call 111 when it's less urgent than 999 NHS Direct Wales. Galw IECHYD Cymru. 0845 46 47 NHS Scotland. NHS 24. Call 111 Northern Ireland. Contact your GP practice. HSC. Public Health Agency

About this leaflet

TARGET is operated by the UK Health Security Agency. Developed in collaboration with professional medical bodies. 

Version: 3.3
Published: October 2018
Review: November 2020