Many of us will have a cold, sore throat or other minor illness at some point during the winter and some of us will have flu. The most common winter illnesses will usually get better without the need to see a doctor.
Here are some tips to help you keep well and self care through the winter months:
1. Treat yourself at home
Colds, flu and most sore throats do not need antibiotics and you can treat your symptoms at home. Make sure you get lots of rest, drink plenty of water and take pain relievers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, if you need them.
2. Order repeat prescriptions and book your flu jab in good time
If you take regular medication make sure you order your repeat prescriptions from your GP surgery in good time. And if you're eligible for a flu jab - it is available free from your GP if you are over 65, pregnant or have a long-term condition such as heart failure, diabetes or respiratory disease - make an appointment at your surgery. Children aged two and three can have the vaccine as a nasal spray.
3. Speak to your pharmacist
Your local pharmacy can recognise many common health complaints. They can give advice or, where appropriate, medicines to help you manage the symptoms. If your problem is more serious or you need medical advice, your pharmacist will advise you to contact your GP.
You can also ask your pharmacist what over the counter remedies to keep in your medicine cabinet at home to help get you and your family through the winter months.
Pharmacy First is now available in Derby
Everyone can go to their pharmacist for free advice or to buy a medication for a minor ailment.
Your pharmacist can also help you decide whether you need to see a doctor or if self treatment is enough. They may suggest a treatment that you can purchase from the pharmacy or receive for free through the ‘Pharmacy First‘ scheme if you qualify. Most pharmacies are open throughout the day and there are some that are also open until midnight and at weekends.
If you qualify for free prescriptions you could receive free treatment from your local participating community pharmacist for the following conditions without having to see your GP:-
- Athlete’s foot
- Bacterial conjunctivitis
- Dental pain
- Hay fever
- Head lice
- Insect bites/stings
- Sore throat
Qualification for free medication through ‘Pharmacy First’ is subject to pharmacy participation and if the patient qualifies for free NHS prescriptions. You can check eligibility for free NHS prescriptions here; prescription costs and eligibility.
4. Check online for information and advice
There is lots of information on the NHS websites about how to keep well, check your symptoms or use self-care to stay healthy and treat common winter illnesses such as colds, sore throats and flu.
Visit NHS England
Visit NHS Northern Ireland
You can also get advice on how to self care, including leaflets to help you manage the most common ailments from the Self Care Forum website.
Visit the Self Care Forum
For some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about how best to provide self care, click on the link below:-
Self Care FAQs.pdf
If your symptoms persist, or you are at all unsure, always seek advice from your GP, nurse or pharmacist.
When Should I Worry? - A Guide for Parents
Click on the following link to access this useful guide for parents with children complaining of coughs, colds, earache or sore throats.
When should I worry - Booklet for Parents.pdf
Self-Treatment of Ear Wax
Click on the following link for useful information and frequently Asked Questions about ear wax and how to treat it yourself.
Self-Treatment of Ear Wax