Don’t forget to self-care and visit your pharmacy this New Year

Coughs and colds.
Coughs and colds.

People returning to work following time off over Christmas are being urged to help themselves, and their families, when it comes to their health in the New Year.

Lincolnshire East CCG is encouraging people to do what they can to take better care of themselves and their family members during the remaining winter months when seasonal illnesses increase.

“Self-care is important to us all, as prevention of ill health is much better than having to find a cure. We all have things to do that are important to us, so why not look now at what we can do to keep ourselves healthy,” said Dr Stephen Baird, GP and Chair, Lincolnshire East CCG.

“Eating well, keeping active and making time to spend with friends and family are three of the most important things you can do to look after yourself. Preventing ill health by choosing the right lifestyle options can improve your physical health, mental wellbeing and self-esteem.”

Generally people underestimate the amount of time symptoms last and most coughs and colds can be treated with over the counter medicines. Most colds get better on their own without treatment from a doctor, and antibiotics are ineffective for treating the common cold.

“If you have a long-term condition, prepare for winter by ensuring you don’t run out of your medication. Your local pharmacy can give advice on the best over the counter medications for common winter complaints, such as coughs and colds, to suit you and any medication you may already be taking,” added Dr Baird.

“Most cold and flu symptoms can be treated safely at home without the need to see your GP, and your pharmacist can provide help and advice on a wide range of topics. The NHS Choices website is also a great source of helpful information, including where to find your local pharmacy.”

Self-care is all about being able to look after yourself, and your family, safely at home.

The following cold and flu facts might help:

• Most cold and flu symptoms can be treated safely at home without the need for a GP;

• If you want advice a pharmacist can help, or access information from a reputable source, such as NHS Choices;

• Coughs can last three to four weeks;

• In adults and older children, cold symptoms last for about a week and a half, and in younger children for up to two weeks. Symptoms are usually worst in the first two to three days, before they gradually start to improve.

• Paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin can help reduce the symptoms of a cold. Avoid giving aspirin to children under the age of 16 and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Talk to your pharmacist about supplements that may help ease your symptoms.

• Most colds are not serious and get better by themselves. Contact your pharmacy for advice or call your GP practice or NHS 111 if you develop a high temperature (above 39°C or 102.2°F), which can be a sign of a more serious type of infection;

• Your sore throat is likely to get better within three to seven days (and a maximum of two weeks) without the need for treatment by a health professional. Most sore throats last for an average of eight days.

• If you have a long-term condition and contract a cold or flu don’t forget to take your regular medication and speak to the pharmacist about any issues with taking other over the counter medicines as well.