The NHS in the North East has joined forces to launch its winter campaign and the main message for local people is ‘Keep calm and look after yourself’.

The campaign is reminding people that many of the common winter ailments and illnesses are easily treated at home, or with advice from a pharmacist – with no need to see a doctor or nurse.

The ‘Keep Calm’ campaign gives advice on how to treat a range of common winter conditions by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home or speaking to your local pharmacist.

The campaign runs across themes including:

Keep calm and ask a pharmacist

There are over 600 Pharmacies in the North East, with many offering a combination of early or late opening hours.  Pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines and are ideally placed to offer advice on many of the common ailments that people suffer from during the winter.

Keep calm and call 111

NHS 111 is the new, urgent health care service for when you need help fast, but it’s not a 999 emergency.

Using the NHS 111 service will free up valuable resources in the North East’s A&E departments for those people who are most seriously ill.

NHS 111 is run by the North East Ambulance Service and is staffed by the same, highly trained call handlers who deal with 999 emergencies.

NHS 111 will signpost you to the most appropriate service, first time and is available 24/7, 365 days a year and is free to call from landlines and mobile phones.

Keep calm and antibiotics aren’t always the answer

The best way to treat most colds, coughs or sore throats is plenty of fluids and rest.  For more advice, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate and many winter-related ailments often get better without antibiotics.

Antibiotics can also have side effects as they upset the natural balance of bacteria potentially resulting in diarrhoea and/or thrush.  The use of inappropriate antibiotics may also allow other more harmful bacteria to increase.

In addition to the main three themes, people in the North East are also being urged to Keep a well stocked medicines cabinet this winter and remember to order your repeat prescriptions in good time for Christmas and the New Year.

Keep a well stocked medicines cabinet

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are effective at relieving most minor aches and pains such as headaches period pain, inflammation in arthritis and sprains, while Antacids can help with stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind and are available in various forms including chewable tablets.

A handy first aid kit could contain bandages, plasters, a thermometer, antiseptic, eyewash solution, sterile dressings, medical tape and tweezers.
By having a good selection of items you can be well prepared for those minor ailments that many of us suffer over the winter period

Order your repeat prescriptions

Many calls to the region’s out of hours service are for emergency repeat prescriptions when people have run out. This is something that can easily be avoided with some forethought and planning.

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you or your family have enough medicine to last over the festive period.