Be Prepared For Winter – Is Your Medicine Cabinet Stocked Up?
The NHS is urging people to be prepared and ensure their medicine cabinets are fully stocked to help them keep well this winter.
Dr Amanda Boardman, a local GP, said: “It’s always best to be prepared, and one of the easiest ways to do this is by making sure your medicine cabinet is well stocked to relieve the symptoms of common illnesses that occur throughout the winter season.
“It’s important to remember that common winter ailments such as coughs, colds, sore throats, sinusitis and ear aches cannot be treated by antibiotics. These illnesses are best cared for at home by resting and drinking plenty of fluids.
“Your local pharmacy is a valuable resource for you and your family. Pharmacists are experts in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets.”
The following is a recommended list of medicines to have in your cabinet as you prepare to face the winter period. They can all be bought from local pharmacies and shops:
- Pain relief – paracetamol and ibuprofen are the most common painkillers and are available in tablet and liquid form. Ibuprofen also reduces inflammation. Please note: aspirin should not be given to anyone under the age of 16.
- Anti-diarrhoea medicine – The most important action in diarrhoea is to keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Your pharmacist can also advise on treatments. It is important to seek advice from your GP if there is blood in the diarrhoea or if the diarrhoea persists more than a few days.
- Sore throat remedies – ask your pharmacist about sprays to ease soreness. Taking simple paracetamol is often best.
- Cough remedies – ask your pharmacist about different types cough treatments. However it is more important to drink plenty, take paracetamol and sneeze or cough into a tissue binning it afterwards and washing your hands.
- Plasters and bandages – it always pays to be well-stocked in the event of minor cuts and scrapes.
- Thermometer – this can be useful if someone in the family develops a cold or if a young child becomes ill. As a general rule a temperature of over 37.5 (99.5F) is a fever.
- Antihistamines – these are useful for allergies. Ask your pharmacist about the types available.
- Antiseptic cream –a medicine cabinet essential in the event or cuts and scrapes.
- Laxatives – constipation is generally best managed by increasing the fibre in your diet and increasing fluid intake (i.e. water), rather than laxatives. If you need laxatives your pharmacist will advise about the types available (tablets or sachets) and which ones are suitable for children or the elderly.
- Children’s medicines – there is a huge variety available to treat a whole range of minor illnesses and conditions. Ask your pharmacist about sugar-free varieties if your child is taking one regularly.
Many people also suffer at this time of year with norovirus (or sickness bugs) and they are strongly advised not to visit anyone in hospital as they could be putting others at risk.
There is no treatment for norovirus but it’s important to keep yourself hydrated to prevent loss of fluids and practice good hand hygiene to help with prevention of the virus. If you have any children who have been ill with the virus keep them away from nursery or school for 48 hours after their last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting.
If you need medical advice you can call NHS 111 for free 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The website www.nhs.uk also provides winter health advice, information about how to treat everyday winter illnesses and, if needed, where to go to for help.
More advice to help people stay well this winter can be found at: www.northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/winter
People in Cumbria are urged only to use 999 and A+E services if it is a serious accident or life threatening illness.