Every winter we hear stories of hospital wards and emergency departments being full to overflowing due the so called ‘winter pressures’. This in turn causes disruption to the hospital resulting in delays to patients treatments and waiting times, and increases pressure on staff especially at peak times.
A lot of illnesses can be treated in your home by using over the counter medicines, taking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of rest.
Self care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries.
Remember to read all the labels on medication containers, and do not take more than the recommended dose of any medicine. For example, paracetamol is in a number of different flu remedies as well as standard paracetamol tablets. You should not give aspirin to children under 16 years of age unless instructed to do so by a doctor.
Always tell your pharmacist if you’re taking any other medicines or have any medical condition – e.g asthma, high blood pressure, so as they can make sure you get the most suitable product.
Pharmacists are often the first point of contact for patients with health enquiries, and anyone can see the pharmacist for advice without an appointment and many now have consultation rooms for increased privacy and confidentiality.
Most colds last about two weeks and end with a cough and coloured sputum. You need to see your doctor though, if your cough lasts more than three weeks, or you become very short of breath or develop chest pains, or you already have a chest complaint. You should also see your doctor if you are worried about your symptoms or condition. You should always call 999 in a life threatening emergency when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
The Health Board encourages patients to make the right choices so that you receive the most appropriate and timely treatment. In many cases patients can be treated sooner if they use a more appropriate service.
Stock up on the following for your winter medicine cabinet:
To ensure you get the best treatment if unwell or injured we urge you to Choose Well. For further information please visit the Welsh Government’s Choose Well website.