3 April 2017
The South Cheshire and Vale Royal Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have developed a checklist to help you prepare for a happy and healthy Easter.
Follow the ‘Seven Steps to Self-Care’ to fight off the symptoms of the most common conditions at home this Spring, and to be aware of where to go if you need help or advice.
Dr Fiona McGregor-Smith, Prescribing Lead for the NHS South Cheshire 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 (see end of article for links to Easter opening times).
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
Saving 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 (see end of article for Easter opening times). 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.
Easter opening times:
This Easter there will be a change in opening hours for your local GP practices and pharmacist covering Good Friday through to the Bank Holiday Monday. The opening times of your GP practices are:
- Thursday 13 April - open as usual
- Friday 14 April (Good Friday) - closed
- Saturday 15 April - closed (check with your practice if it is usually open on Saturdays)
- Monday 17 April (Bank Holiday Monday) - closed
- Tuesday 18 April - open as usual
What to do if you need to speak to someone and your surgery is closed:
- NHS 111 - If you need urgent medical advice but your condition is not life threatening, call NHS 111. It’s free from any landline or mobile and is open 24/7
- NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk has a useful guide on medical conditions and treatments.
- Your local pharmacist also offers free professional advice.
- The Minor Injuries Unit at the Victoria Infirmary in Northwich is open every day over Easter from 9am to 10pm.
The local Clinical Commissioning Groups have also released information regarding the opening hours of local pharmacies over Easter. These can be viewed by following the links below.
Vale Royal (opens in new window)
South Cheshire (opens in new window)