While you’re Christmas shopping, stock up your medicine cabinet

First aid medicine boxThis is the time of year when a lot of us are busy shopping for presents and planning get-togethers and holiday travel.

While you’re out, have you thought about also stocking up on medicine cabinet essentials to make sure you’re prepared for the holidays?

If it’s not an emergency,

please don’t go to A&E or ring 999.

There are a lot of illnesses circulating at this time of year. People often turn up at hospitals with minor illnesses and injuries that could often be better treated more quickly elsewhere, or at home.

Your local pharmacist can offer you free, qualified health advice at any time, and no appointment is necessary. From coughs and colds to aches and pains, they can give you expert help on everyday illnesses and answer questions about prescribed and over the counter medicines.

NHS Direct have just sent over some advice – stock up on medicine. All year round, pharmacists can also advise on healthy eating, obesity and giving up smoking and almost all have private areas where you can talk in confidence.

So, before the holiday schedule gets too hectic, check your medicine cabinet and make sure you have the following basics to get you through the holidays:

  • Your usual painkillers, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin
  • Cold and flu remedies
  • Anti-diarrhoea medicine
  • Oral rehydration salts
  • Indigestion remedies
  • Plasters
  • Bandages
  • Thermometer
  • Tissues

If you are already taking other medication, check first with your pharmacist to make sure the medicines are right for you.

Check any medicines already in your cabinet are still okay to use. If any medicines are past their use-by date, don’t take them.

Bill Sandhu, medicines management lead from NHS South Essex, says:

“The last thing anyone wants over the holidays is to be ill. Unfortunately, every winter, colds, flu, stomach bugs and other ailments are all too common. We’re sure that most people would much prefer to avoid a trip to their GP or A&E if they possibly can, especially over the holidays. By being prepared for winter and stocking up on medicine cabinet essentials, a lot of people could treat minor illnesses at home, avoiding unnecessary trips to the doctor.”

If it’s not an emergency, please don’t go to A&E or ring 999. People can help the NHS during these busy times by making sure they ‘choose well’ and consider using other parts of the NHS, such as a pharmacist, your GP, NHS Direct online at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk or on 0845 46 47.

If you need treatment, consider using the walk-in centres at Thurrock Health Centre or St Luke’s Health Centre in Southend or the Orsett minor injuries unit.

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