Written by: by Christopher Chow, Provisional Pharmacist
In winter, the drop in temperature poses a risk to the elderly and those with chronic health conditions in many ways. As part of the national health campaign, we can take a few steps to maintain good physical well-being for an enjoyable Christmas and New Year.
Management and prevention of your winter ailments
Weather-related ailments are very common in winter, but most of them are mild illnesses recover without medical treatment. Over-the counter medications can be used to provide symptomatic relief, and these can be bought from your local pharmacy. If you have other concern about the illnesses or you are not getting better, your local pharmacist can provide you with the most suitable advice on the management of the illness or signpost you to another healthcare professional.
Keeping the body warm is the key to protecting yourself from any winter ailment. When you are travelling outdoors, wear several layers of clothing to keep warm and avoid going out in adverse weather. If you are staying at home, make sure your heating services are operating properly with room temperature maintained to at least 18°C. Having regular hot meals and drinks are also the good ways to keep your body warm.
If you develop any symptoms similar to COVID-19 (including a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a change to your sense of smell or taste), please follow the latest guidance on COVID-19 to self-isolate and get a test. This is available at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
Plan with your medications
During the winter period, it is important to plan and make sure you have adequate medications and food at home, avoiding the need to travel amidst the coldness. If you have a chronic condition and are on long term medications, you should order your medications well in advance and make sure you can get them before the pharmacies and GP are closed in the holidays
Patients with respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD can be more susceptible to a cough and breathlessness in winter. If you suffer from these conditions, your reliever should always be available for emergency use and you can also prevent episodes of breathlessness by using your reliever before going outdoors.
Updates on Flu vaccination
Most pharmacies and GPs have now received their additional supply of vaccines and have limited stocks available for patients who are eligible for free NHS flu vaccination. If you are not usually eligible for a flu vaccine, you may need to wait till the vaccination of your patient groups is allowed by the government.
To learn more about flu vaccination or general health advice for this winter, you can visit www.nhs.uk/keep-warm-keep-well. Despite all the challenges from this year, the Lowdham Pharmacy team would like to wish you all a safe and enjoyable Christmas.