Health advice

HEALTH officials are reminding people to take simple steps to help them keep healthy throughout the winter and festive period.

• If you take medication regularly, make sure you have enough to last over the holiday period – but don’t order extra drugs which you don’t really need;

• Keep simple remedies, such as pain killers, indigestion relief and diarrohea remedy in your medicine cabinet so that you can care for common illnesses at home;

• Make sure your first aid kit is well equipped with plasters, gauze, tweezers, scissors, non-adhesive dressing, antiseptic cream, bandages, tape and a child-safe thermometer; and

• Check the expiry date of any medicines you already have and return any which are out-of-date to your local community pharmacy for safe disposal.

Michael Dennis, of the prescribing and medicines management team at NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said: “With the winter fast approaching, it is inevitable that a lot of people will suffer from coughs and colds. We are advising people to keep some basic medicines in their home to help with the symptoms of these everyday illnesses.

“If you feel unwell, you should speak to your pharmacist for advice about treatment, rather than going straight to your GP. NHS Direct can also provide help around the clock.”

Mr Dennis has also urged those who take medicines regularly to make sure their prescriptions are up to date – but only order extra if they absolutely need it.

He added: “Wasted medicines cost the NHS millions each year – money which could be used to pay for operations or other treatments. We’re working hard to reduce that waste and would urge people to only order what they need.

“We would also like to remind people suffering with colds and flu-like symptoms not to expect their GP to give them antibiotics. They don’t work on the viruses which cause colds, plus overusing them can make you more vulnerable to other illnesses in the long run.”

If you need advice or help during the holidays contact NHS Direct, which is available around the clock, on 0845 46 47, or visit www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk