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Seven Steps to a Healthy Easter

Following ‘Seven Steps’ from NHS Vale Royal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) could mean you’re outside, enjoying the long Easter Bank Holiday Weekend, rather than hiding indoors avoiding hay fever or nursing coughs and colds.

The ‘Seven Steps to Self-Care’ is a checklist with tips and advice so that people can be prepared and ready to fight off the symptoms of the most common conditions at home this Spring.  There is also information on where to get help and who to contact.

Dr Fiona McGregor-Smith, Prescribing Lead for the NHS Vale Royal CCG, said: “With coughs and colds or even hay fever, there are plenty of things we can do to look after ourselves with over the counter medications, rather than booking a GP appointment.

“If you go through these Seven Steps, you’ll be prepared to take on these minor illnesses.”

1 – Know where to get advice:

Make your local community pharmacy your first point of contact when you’re starting to feel unwell.

The NHS Choices website, www.nhs.uk, is available any time, for free, with information on minor health concerns.

2 – Stock up on over-the-counter medicines so you’re well prepared with:

  • Allergy medicines
  • Simple pain killers like paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • Medication for sore throats, coughs, colds and flu
  • Heartburn and indigestion remedies
  • Pile (haemorrhoid) treatments
  • Anti-diarrhoea medication
  • Medicines for upset stomachs

Having these ready at home means you don’t have to wait to start treating minor conditions.

3 – If you want further advice, speak to your local community pharmacist:

They can give advice on minor conditions and recommend a number of over-the-counter medications to help relieve your symptoms. Pharmacists are often open in the evenings and weekends, and you don’t need an appointment.

4 – Always look for the lowest cost version of the medication:

Cheaper doesn’t mean inferior. All medicines have to be quality assured against the same strict standards. Look for medicines sold by their ingredient name like ‘paracetamol’. This will be less costly than branded products, but will be just as effective.

5 – Know how long it can take for minor conditions to clear up:

  • Sore throat – 7 days
  • Common cold – 10 days
  • Sinusitis – 18 days
  • Cough or bronchitis – 21 days

6 – If your symptoms aren’t clearing up, or are getting worse, then do contact your GP surgery.  Don’t forget to tell them everything you have tried for your symptoms and for how long.

7 – Some pharmacies provide a minor ailments service, which means they can supply medicines for certain conditions on the NHS. This is called “Think Pharmacy” and you can ask to speak privately in a consulting room if you’d rather not be overheard.

Dr McGregor-Smith said: “Just because you’re under the weather, it doesn’t mean your GP is the first person you should try and see.  Following the steps above, getting advice from your community pharmacist or online from NHS Choices, could mean you’re prepared to tackle any minor ailments as we head into the spring.”

You can also get advice on non-urgent medical problems by calling NHS111, which is open 24/7 and free from any mobile or landline. There is also useful information on symptoms and treatments on the NHS Choice website at www.nhs.uk