Seven Steps to a Healthy Easter

NHS CCGNHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is promoting “Seven Steps To Self Care” to the local population.

These Seven Steps provide tips and advice so that you can be prepared and ready to fight off the symptoms of common ailments this spring, keeping you well this Easter. There is also information on where to get help and who to contact.

Dr Graham Duce, Prescribing Lead for the CCG, advises: “With coughs and colds, or hay fever, there are various things we can do to look after ourselves with over-the-counter medicines, rather than booking a GP appointment, or requesting a medication on prescription.

“If you go through these Seven Steps, you’ll be prepared to take on these minor illnesses.”

1) Know where to get advice:
Make your local community pharmacy your first point of contact when you’re starting to feel unwell.
Also, the NHS Choices website, www.nhs.uk, is available any time, for free, with information on minor health concerns.

2) Be prepared and stock up on over-the-counter medicines

Having certain treatments ready at home means you don’t have to wait to start treating minor conditions if symptoms develop. Those recommended are:
• Allergy medicines, such as oral antihistamines or nasal sprays for hay fever
• Simple pain killers like paracetamol and ibuprofen for aches and pains
• Medication for sore throats, coughs and colds
• Heartburn and indigestion remedies
• Pile (haemorrhoid) treatments
• Anti-diarrhoea medication e.g. loperamide
3) If you want further advice, speak to your local community pharmacist
They can give advice on minor conditions and recommend appropriate over-the-counter medications to help relieve your symptoms. Pharmacists are often open in the evenings and weekends, and you don’t need an appointment.

4) Always look for the lowest cost version of the medication
Cheaper doesn’t mean inferior. All medicines have to be quality assured against the same quality standards. Look for medicines sold by their ingredient name like “paracetamol”, as this will be less costly but just as effective as a branded product.

5) 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
6) 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.

7) Some pharmacies provide a minor ailments service
These pharmacies can supply medicines for certain conditions on the NHS. This is the “Think Pharmacy” service and you can ask to speak privately in a consulting room if you’d rather not be overheard.

Dr Duce said: “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.”

You can also get advice on non-urgent medical problems by calling NHS 111, which is available 24/7 and free from any mobile or landline.

Alternatively, visit www.easterncheshireccg.nhs.uk and search for “Choose Well”, “Think Pharmacy” and “Self-Care.”