HEALTH AND WELLBEING: Choose the right treatment

AS celebrations get in to full swing, local people are being urged to choose the right care for their symptoms and help health services help them to have a happy and healthy festive period.

Health services across Rotherham, including GP practices, A&E and the Walk-in Centre, experience extreme pressure at Christmas, therefore looking after yourself by keeping a well-stocked medicines cabinet is often the best way to get better quickly and deal with day-to-day illnesses.

Advice and/or medicines for common illnesses can be given without having to make an appointment with the local doctor by using the Pharmacy First scheme in Rotherham. Patients who receive free prescriptions will receive their medicine free of charge.

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Health services should be accessed in the following order, when people feel ill:

1.    Self care – look after yourself at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet.

2.    Pharmacy (chemist) – for expert advice on common illnesses and the best medicines to treat them

3.    Ring NHS 111 – 24 hour helpline health enquiry and advice

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4.    GP Practice – for illnesses that just won’t go away you can see a nurse or doctor at your local surgery.

Dr David Clitherow, local GP and lead for urgent care at NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Choosing the right treatment will help us to help those patients who are in most need of medical attention. Most ailments and illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, aches and pains can be self-treated and do not need antibiotics. Your pharmacist can help provide you with the advice and over the counter medicines which will help relieve your symptoms.

“Local pharmacists are highly qualified to give advice on a wide range of common health problems and the best medicines to treat them. They prescribe from a range of medications so you don’t even have to go to your doctor for some things. But, you should contact your GP surgery for advice if symptoms are severe or go on for several days.

“At this time of year most people, especially children, get coughs and colds, however pharmacists can prescribe free oral paracetamol. The best way to look after someone with a cold or cough is to make sure they have plenty to drink and if they have a temperature, paracetamol will help. You do not need to visit your local doctor; instead if the symptoms persist you should contact your pharmacy to get the right medicine for your illness.”

An essential medicine cabinet should include:

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•    Pain relief such as paracetamol and aspirin (aspirin should not be given to children under 16 or to people with asthma)

•    Children’s paracetamol oral suspension and ibuprofen syrups – free from pharmacy if you receive free prescriptions.

•    Mild laxatives to relieve constipation

•    Cold relief products

•    Rehydration mixtures for diarrhoea or vomiting to use if feeling dehydrated after a bout of sickness or diarrhoea

•    Indigestion remedy

•    Travel sickness tablets for family trips

•    A thermometer to check for fever

•    A range of bandages, plasters, non-absorbent cotton wool, elastic bandages and dressings for minor cuts, sprains and bruises

With prescribed medicines and those bought over-the-counter follow the advice of the pharmacist, doctor or nurse. People should always read the instructions and never go over the suggested dose.