With winter halfway through and spring on the horizon, people across Lincolnshire are being reminded they can buy a wide range of medicines over the counter from their local pharmacy or supermarket, without the need for a prescription.
“There are a number of common conditions, such as coughs and colds, upset stomach, headache and migraine, that can be treated with medication available over the counter at your local pharmacy,” explains Dr Dave Baker, GP and Acting Chair, South West Lincolnshire CCG.
“As well as being able to sell you these medications, your local pharmacy is a fantastic source of help and advice, and will be able to guide you on the most appropriate medication for your condition, and you won’t need a prescription or an appointment.”
In addition to highlighting the benefits of buying over the counter, South Lincolnshire CCG is keen to promote the benefits of self-care, as prevention of ill health is much better than having to find a cure.
“By ensuring you have a range of essential medications at home you can look after yourself by treating common conditions in a timely manner and avoid unnecessary trips to your doctor or to A&E,” comments Dr Baker.
“It’s wise to have a range of medicine cabinet essentials at home, for example, simple pain killers like paracetamol and ibuprofen, cough and cold medications, allergy medicines, and first aid kits, all of which can be bought easily and cheaply from your local pharmacy.”
Self-care is all about being able to look after yourself, and your family, safely at home:
- Most cold and flu symptoms can be treated safely at home without the need for a GP;
- If you want advice a pharmacist can help, or access information from a reputable source, such as NHS Choices;
- Coughs can last three to four weeks;
- In adults and older children, cold symptoms last for about a week and a half, and in younger children for up to two weeks. Symptoms are usually worst in the first two to three days, before they gradually start to improve.
- Paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin can help reduce the symptoms of a cold. Avoid giving aspirin to children under the age of 16 and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Talk to your pharmacist about supplements that may help ease your symptoms.
- Most colds are not serious and get better by themselves. Contact your pharmacy for advice or call your
GP practice or NHS 111 if you develop a high temperature (above 39°C or 102.2°F), which can be a sign of a more serious type of infection;
- Your sore throat is likely to get better within three to seven days (and a maximum of two weeks) without the need for treatment by a health professional. Most sore throats last for an average of eight days.
- If you have a long-term condition and contract a cold or flu don’t forget to take your regular medication and speak to the pharmacist about any issues with taking other over the counter medicines as well.
If you have a long-term condition it is worthwhile ensuring you won’t run out of your medication.
“Again, your local pharmacy will be able to advise you on the best over the counter medicines to suit you and any medication you may already be taking,” adds Dr Baker. “Don’t forget the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk is also a great source of information, including where to find your local pharmacy.”