1. Have a clean out - throw away expired medicines
Keeping multiple pill bottles is confusing. Plus, the last thing you’ll want to do if you get sick is rummage through bottles and boxes of old medication. Have a clear out of expired and unwanted medicines. It is important that these are disposed of properly as they can be bad for the environment. Read more about medicines and the environment including how to return expired or unused medicines to your pharmacy.
2. Keep a few items on hand
It is handy to have a few items that you are most likely to need on hand. For example, pain and fever is one of the most common symptoms of a cold or the flu. Paracetamol is safe to use for pain or fever. Ibuprofen may be used but it is not suitable for many people with health conditions. Your pharmacist can tell you if ibuprofen is suitable for you.
There are other things it might be helpful to have, some of which you probably already have in your bathroom, pantry or garden:
- Moisturiser to help with dry skin.
- Aromatic chest rub to help ease congestion.
- Tissues for runny noses.
- Honey can help soothe a sore throat.
- Fruit teas, or fresh lemons or mint, for making soothing warm drinks and staying hydrated.
3. Know what to do if you are unwell
If you have a long term health condition such as diabetes, asthma or COPD, check in advance with your healthcare provider if you need a sick day plan. This plan will outline any changes to your regular medicines that are needed, and when to contact your healthcare provider, if you are unwell. If you have a cold there are things you can do to manage the symptoms, eg, sore throat, blocked nose, fever. Read more about colds and when you might need to visit your doctor.
If you are having cold and flu type symptoms remember that it might be COVID-19. It is important that you get tested for it in case you need to isolate and protect your whānau and local community.
4. Talk to your pharmacist for advice
If you feel like you are coming down with something, even if it’s just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets worse. Act quickly – the sooner you get advice the better – pharmacists can help and are fully qualified to advise you on the best course of action. If you can’t get to see a pharmacist yourself, ask someone to go for you or call your local pharmacy for further information. Find your local Pharmacist here.(external link)
5. Dress up warmly
Make sure your and your whānau have warm clothes. Being cold can weaken your immune system and make it easier for you to get sick when you come into contact with cold and flu viruses. If you get damp and cold for any length of time you might develop chilblains – typically on your fingers, toes or ears. Chilblains are tender or itchy bumps on your skin which may be raised and look a blotchy red/purple colour. They can be very uncomfortable and bad ones might blister. Wearing warm, dry clothing can help to prevent them. Read more about chilblains(external link).
Second hand shops are likely to stock hats, scarves and gloves. If you are a knitter you could make your own, if not, you may know somebody who is and you could swap some knitting for baking or a skill you have that they need.