Pharmacist urges cold and flu sufferers not to self medicate

People who believe they are suffering from colds or flus are being urged not to self medicate.

The call comes from local pharmacist Barra Nevin as the cold and flu season is under way. He warns that many different cold and flu remedies as well as painkillers contain paracetamol.

He advises people to seek healthcare advice from their pharmacist before taking medicines.

“Never take more than one paracetamol-based preparation at a time as this could lead to liver damage.”

Mr Nevin, who lives in Roscam, says it is also important to inform your pharmacist of any other medicines you may be taking to ensure that the most appropriate one is recommended for you.

He explains that colds and flu have very similar symptoms such as stuffy nose, cough, sore throat and fever, which can make people feel miserable.

“A cold builds up gradually while the flu attacks the body suddenly and lasts much longer than a cold. In some cases the flu may lead to serious complications such as pneumonia.

“Anyone who is feeling unwell should ask their pharmacist first for advice on the best course of action for their symptoms.”

He offers the following tips to help people beat colds and flu:-

1. Get the flu vaccine. This prevents getting the flu which has severe symptoms and can last up to two weeks.

2. Wash your hands regularly. This eliminates the spread of germs and keeps your family safe. Use warm water and soap and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Rinse well and dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel.

3. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Water keeps your digestive system working well.

4. Have a healthy lifestyle. Getting adequate sleep, good nutrition and physical exercise can help ensure your immune system is in good condition and ready to fight infection if it occurs.

5. Control stress. People experiencing stress tend to have weakened immune systems and are more likely to catch a cold. Try to keep calm and factor in relaxation time into your daily routine.

6. Limit exposure to infected people. If possible, avoid those you know have a cold or flu.

7. Know your medicine options. Ask your pharmacist about the best medicines to take if you experience symptoms. For example a nasal decongestant can help unclog a stuffy nose, cough suppressants help coughs, expectorants loosen mucus, antihistamines help stop a runny nose, and sneezing and pain relievers can ease fever, headaches and minor pains.

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