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​Self Care for Life – be healthy this winter

Did you know that it is usual for adults to have two to four colds a year while children are likely to have three to eight as their immune system is more susceptible to viral infections?

Cold and flu symptoms can last anywhere between 5-10 days and cannot be treated with antibiotics.

Self care week promotes the importance of being prepared this winter when seasonal illnesses are more frequent, by treating minor ailments and illnesses at home and seeking the advice of your pharmacist as a first port of call.

New research indicates 6 million UK adults would visit their GP and over 2 million would visit A&E as a first port of call for common winter ailments such as colds and flu.   One in 4 people unnecessarily visit their GP or A&E when suffering from flu.

Dr Marc Rowland from NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group says:

"As well as helping you and your family to stay well by eating sensibly, stopping smoking, drinking in moderation and taking regular exercise, it is important to be well prepared as colder weather approaches. A well-stocked medicine cabinet with painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen will help reduce temperatures and ease aches/pains. You can also seek expert advice from your local pharmacist about treating common illnesses and ailments, and will advise whether you should seek further medical attention."

One of the most common reasons people visit their GP when suffering with a winter ailment is because they want or think they need antibiotics, however antibiotics don't have any impact on common winter ailments which are caused by viruses. Antibiotics only work against bacteria.  

Pharmacists can help people better manage their winter ailments by providing personalised advice on what treatments will be most effective and what "warning signs" to look out for which may require medical attention.

Visit to find out what you can do to treat yourself better and the warning signs to look out for.

There are a range of services in Lewisham to help you take care of yourself:

Want to stop smoking? Contact Lewisham Stop Smoking Service for free support and advice on 0800 0820 388. You are four times more likely to quit with support from the stop smoking service than going it alone.

Get a free NHS Health Check if you are aged 40-74. Find out your risk of developing heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, dementia and having a stroke, and ways you can prevent them. 

Being active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for the whole family. Find out ways to keep yourself and your family active:

Looking after your health can be a fun and enjoyable experience. Find out about local health activities:

Join free programmes for children and mums to find out more about healthy eating, taking part in physical activity sessions and getting help to build healthier lives for the whole family

Get advice and guidance on sexual health issues for men, women and young people at one of the sexual health clinics in the borough. They also provide contraception, as well as testing and treatment for sexual infections.  

Pregnant women, new mums and children under 4 can all get free vitamin D supplements which help your body absorb calcium and keep bones and teeth strong. Get a free D card at local pharmacies

See what advice, help and treatment is available in the borough for drug and alcohol users and the families and carers of drug and alcohol

Your mental health: at some time in their lives many people find it difficult to cope with everyday life. See what help is available for you, a family member or friend.