Community pharmacy is a convenient setting to get help for coughs and sneezes and all manner of other health concerns which don’t necessarily require a GP or hospital appointment.
Here are 10 tips on how you can stay well this winter:
1) Make sure you protect yourself from getting the flu by getting a flu jab if:
- You’re 65 or over
- You’re pregnant
- You have certain medical conditions such as asthma
- You’re living in a residential, nursing or care home or you receive Carer’s Allowance
- You’re a carer for an elderly or disabled person
- You’re a healthcare or a social care worker
If you’re not in the above group but you want to have the flu jab, you can pay to have it done at some pharmacies.
2) To ease congestion in babies and young children, ask your pharmacist about vapour rubs. Nasal saline drops or sprays can also help.
3) Remember, most over the counter medicines are not suitable for children under six years old so if your child is unwell, ask your pharmacist for the best treatment option.
4) Paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin can help to reduce fever and relieve pain. Remember, painkillers are not suitable for everyone to take – ask your pharmacist for more advice.
5) Remember to read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine or ask your pharmacist for more advice. Many cold remedies contain painkillers so be careful if you’re already taking another painkiller.
6) If you’re feeling bunged up with a cold, ask your pharmacist for decongestants. These can help to reduce the swelling in the passageways of your nose and may help ease breathing.
7) Your pharmacy team can give you tips on things you can do at home to ease the symptoms of winter ailments. For example, gargling with salt water can help ease the symptoms of a sore throat and help with nasal congestion. Steam inhalation can also help to ease congestion. This is where you fill a bowl up with hot water, place a towel over your head, place your head over the bowl (with eyes closed), and breathe intensely. The steam can help to ease congestion.
8) Coughs, colds and flu are spread when people sneeze or cough and tiny droplets are picked up by others through the air or because they’ve touched something you have touched. You can protect yourself from getting a cough, cold or the flu by washing your hands regularly. If you are ill, help to protect others by coughing and sneezing into a tissue and immediately putting it in the bin.
9) If your child is suffering with an earache, ask your pharmacist for treatment advice. Earache is the most common reason for a parent to call a doctor out of hours for their child but the pharmacy team can help you. Painkillers can be used to ease symptoms and you can also do things at home to help your child such as placing a warm flannel against the infected ear.
10) Cough medicines can help to ease a troublesome cough that feels dry or tickly or itchy or a chesty cough. You can also make remedies at home by adding a teaspoon of honey to warm water.