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Health Matters - Seven steps to self-care

Health Matters - Seven steps to self-care
12 April 2017

Dr Paul Bowen, clinical chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, and GP with McIlvride Medical Practice, Poynton

With Easter almost upon us, I’m sure we’re all looking forward to a long weekend, some spring sunshine and an opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors. For that reason, it would be a great pity if our plans were spoiled by a cough, cold or sore throat – or even an early onset of hay fever.

And that’s why the CCG is promoting “Seven Steps to Self-Care” so that you’re ready to fight off the symptoms of common ailments this spring. So here goes:

  1. Know where to get advice - make your local community pharmacy your first point of contact when you’re starting to feel unwell. Click here for the Easter opening times of Eastern Cheshire pharmacies.


  1. Be prepared and stock up on over-the-counter medicines – including allergy medicines; simple pain killers; medication for sore throats, coughs and colds; heartburn and indigestion remedies; and anti-diarrhoea medication.


  1. If you want further advice, speak to your local community pharmacist - they can give advice on minor conditions and recommend over-the-counter medications to relieve your symptoms.


  1. Always look for the lowest cost version of the medication - medicines sold by their ingredient name, like paracetamol, will be less costly but just as effective as a branded product.


  1. 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.


  1. Contact your GP surgery if your symptoms aren’t clearing up or are getting worse - don’t forget to tell them everything you have already tried for your symptoms and for how long.


  1. Some pharmacies provide a minor ailments service - these pharmacies can supply medicines for certain conditions on the NHS. This is the Think Pharmacy Minor Ailments service and you can ask to speak privately in a consulting room if you’d rather not be overheard.


When you’re feeling 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 minor ailments as we head into the spring.