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Stock up your medicine cabinet for Christmas

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

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

Dr Waleed Doski, a GP in Birmingham and Clinical Lead for Medicines Management at Birmingham South Central Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “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 everyone would 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, people can treat many minor illnesses at home, avoiding unnecessary trips to the doctor.”

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 help with everyday illnesses and answer questions about prescribed and over the counter medicines.

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.

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, their GP, NHS Direct online at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk or on 0845 46 47. If you need treatment, consider using a walk-in centre or minor injuries unit.

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