As the cold weather draws in, many of you may be thinking how to manage your health this winter. We all know that the NHS can be especially busy during the winter months, but everyone can benefit by following expert advice from the NHS; to prevent an illness getting worse; to take the best course of action; and get well again sooner. The NHS’ winter campaign – ‘Help Us, Help You’ – is here to help you get the best out of your NHS.
For example, you can ask a pharmacist for advice before minor ailments or winter illnesses get worse. Community pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals who can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines to effectively and safely manage a range of health concerns, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, earaches, eye infections and many more.
Another illness your pharmacist can help advise on is flu. Flu is especially common in the winter and can be serious and even deadly for vulnerable individuals. That’s why NHS provides free flu vaccinations to pregnant women, over 65s, children aged 2-11 and people with underlying health conditions.
If you are struck with the flu this winter, remember flu is a viral infection and so can’t be treated by antibiotics, however, there are still many things you can do to manage symptoms including taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a temperature, drinking plenty of water to fight dehydration, resting and keeping warm.
If you’re unsure where to go and think you need urgent medical attention, but it’s not life-threatening, contacting NHS 111 can help you make sure you reach the best NHS service for your health need. NHS 111 is available online at 111.nhs.uk as well as by phone.
If you need to see a GP but find it hard to access your practice in routine hours, appointments with a GP, nurse or other healthcare professionals are available in the evenings and at weekends through your practice or other local NHS services.
The ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign also encourages the most vulnerable people in society – over 65s and those with underlying health conditions – to take better care of their health as the colder months approach. Older neighbours, relatives, and friends may need a bit of extra help this winter, so make sure you keep in touch, check if they are feeling under the weather, help them stock up on food supplies, and make sure they have their necessary medication.