WEEKEND WEB: A weekly column by the chairman of South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Doctor kevin Hill, addressing topical health issues:
South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group is promoting self-care, encouraging people to take better care of themselves and their family members, especially during the winter months, when seasonal illnesses increase.
Self-care aims to raise awareness about the benefits of what people can do to take care of their own health at home and to encourage more self-care across communities, families and generations.
Self-care is important to us all, as prevention of ill health is much better than having to find a cure. We all have things to do that are important to us especially over the Christmas period, so why not look now at what we can do to keep ourselves healthy?
Eating well, keeping active and making time to spend with friends and family are three of the most important things you can do to look after yourself.
Preventing ill health by choosing the right lifestyle options can improve your physical health, mental wellbeing and self-esteem.
Generally, people underestimate the amount of time symptoms last and most coughs and colds can be treated with over the counter medicines.
Most colds get better on their own; without treatment from a doctor and antibiotics are ineffective for treating the common cold.
“f you have a long term condition, prepare for winter by ensuring you don’t run out of your medication. Many pharmacists offer repeat prescription services without the need to see your GP.
If you do fall sick, the self-care message also includes advice to make sure you are able to look after yourself at home safely. Here are a few facts about colds and flu:
• 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.
NHS Choices (NHS.uk) can provide helpful information on common winter ailments such as coughs, colds, sore throats and fever in children.