Local GPs and pharmacists are advising people in Bury to get organised by ordering and collecting any repeat prescriptions before the Christmas holidays start and keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home.

The top must-haves in your medicines cabinet to help you deal with the most common illnesses and winter ailments are:

  • Painkillers such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen. They are highly effective at relieving most minor aches and pains, such as headaches and menstrual pain. These medicines can also help with some minor ailments, such as the common cold, by reducing aches, pain and high temperatures.
  • Antihistamines can help calm minor food allergic reactions and are also useful for dealing with insect bites.
  • Oral rehydration salts are an easy way to help restore your body’s natural balance of minerals and fluid, and help your recovery by reducing your risk of dehydration if you are suffering from fever, diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • Anti-diarrhoea tablets can quickly control the symptoms of diarrhoea, which can be caused by a range of things. Food poisoning and stomach viruses can happen without warning, so it’s a good idea to keep an anti-diarrhoea medicine at home.
  • Indigestion treatments reduce stomach acidity and will bring relief if suffering from stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind.

In addition, keeping a well-prepared first aid kit can help to treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises, and reduce the risk of infection. It should contain:

  • Bandages can support injured limbs, such as a sprained wrist, and also apply direct pressure to larger cuts before being treated by a health professional.
  • Waterproof plasters in a range of sizes.
  • Digital thermometers produce very accurate readings. Placing a thermometer under the arm is a good way to read a baby or young child’s temperature.
  • Antiseptic can be used to clean cuts before they’re dressed (bandaged).
  • Eyewash solution helps wash out grit or dirt in the eyes.
  • Sterile dressings to cover larger injuries to prevent infection until treatment can be given by a health professional.
  • Medical tape to secure dressings. It can also be used to tape an injured finger to an uninjured one, creating a makeshift splint.

Howard Hughes, Clinical Director of NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local pharmacist said: “We hope people’s Christmases are not blighted by illness or injury, but it’s best to be prepared just in case by ordering and collecting their repeat prescriptions in good time. Many over-the-counter medicines including paracetamol and ibuprofen will help to relieve symptoms of common winter ailments, such as colds, sore throat, cough, sinusitis or painful middle ear infection (earache). Also minor cuts and bruises can also be treated at home with the correct first aid items.

“Patients can ask a local pharmacist for advice and guidance about over-the-counter medicines for help with many ailments. Instead of booking an appointment with your GP, you can walk in and see your local pharmacist, who offers expert health advice regarding what to use for an illness or ailment and dosage. Limited services will be open over the holidays so it is a good idea to get prepared for minor health problems to treat yourself and your family.”

When keeping over-the-counter medicines at home, patients are strongly recommended to:

  • Always follow the directions on medicine packets and information leaflets, and never take more than the stated dose.
  • Always keep medicines out of the sight and reach of children, ideally in a high, lockable cupboard in a cool, dry place.
  • If you already have a medicine cabinet at home then to regularly check expiry dates. If a medicine is past the use-by date then do not use it and dispose of it responsibly.