Winter is here and we can't get away from the cold weather and the inevitable bugs that come with it.
BUT there's an awful lot you can do to help us to help you over the winter months.
Treat things are home
Winter illnesses such as colds and coughs, sore throats, and upset stomachs can easily be treated at home with medicines available at low cost from your local pharmacy - no GP appointment or prescription required.
Winter medicine cabinet essentials include:
- pain relief (paracetamol)
- cough and sore throat remedies
- first aid kit
- upset stomach treatment
- rehydration treatment
- heartburn and indigestion treatment
Having these winter essentials at hand will not only save you time and help you to feel better quicker, but help save the NHS much needed resources.
Your local pharmacist can also offer you advice and guidance on the best treatment for you – no appointment needed. Pharmacists are available on every high street and in supermarkets with many open evenings and weekends.
Find a pharmacy need you here
Use antibiotics on your doctor's advice
Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.
Despite the risks of antibiotic resistance, research shows that 38% of people still expect an antibiotic from a doctor’s surgery, NHS walk-in centre or ‘GP out of hours’ service when they visited with a cough, flu or a throat, ear, sinus or chest infection in 2017.
Get a flu vaccine
Certain groups are at particular risk from flu and vaccination is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus. That’s why the flu vaccine is free – because eligible groups really need it. If you (or someone you care for) falls into one of the following groups, contact your GP practice for a free flu vaccine:
- adults age 65 and over
- children age 2-3 and in reception classes through to year 5
- pregnant women
- anyone with an underlying condition such as COPD, bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, spleen problems (like sickle cell), liver disease or a chronic neurological disease like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
- anyone with a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medication such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- anyone who receives a carer's allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
- frontline health and social care workers
- anyone who has a learning disability and are on their GP learning disability register.
If you don't fall into one of these groups but would still like a flu vaccine, then call into your local pharmacy.