December Health Column 2021

Countdown to Christmas

As the festive season approaches, there are a few things you can do to help you, your family and loved ones stay well over the Christmas holidays. As we meet up with more people during the holidays, there are more opportunities for colds, coughs, flu, stomach bugs and Covid-19 to spread. While these are usually quite mild and pass within a few days for most people, for older people and those with some pre-existing health conditions or lowered immune systems they can be serious. If you feel unwell it may be best to stay at home until symptoms pass to ensure you don’t pass bugs on to vulnerable family members or friends.

Taking control of your own health and well-being by adding a few extra things to your Christmas planning will make sure you prepared for any minor illnesses.

Get your prescription medicines early

GP practices and many pharmacies close at weekends and on Bank Holidays, so make sure you get your prescription medicines early. Christmas and New Year fall on weekends this year and so there are three week-day bank holidays and so check you have enough prescription medicines to cover the Christmas period.

Stock up on winter medicines

Now is the time to stock up on over-the-counter medicines to help treat and relieve winter illnesses such as colds, coughs, flu and sickness bugs. Your local community pharmacy will have a range of products in stock and can advise which are the most suitable for you and your family.

If you do feel ill over the Christmas break

If you are over 65 or have a long-term health condition and become unwell, get help sooner rather than later. Call your pharmacy or GP first. However, if these are closed or you are unsure who to contact, call NHS 111 who will guide you to the most appropriate service.

If you have a new continuous cough, high temperature or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, then you could have Covid-19. You can catch this even if you have been vaccinated and so get tested if you experience any of these symptoms.

There’s still time to get vaccinated

Getting vaccinated against flu and Covid-19 not only reduces the chances of you catching it and the severity if you do, but also reduces the chances of you passing it to friends and family who are more vulnerable to these illnesses.

If you haven’t taken up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccination there’s still time. Visit: or call 119.

If you are eligible, you can also receive a flu vaccination free from either your community pharmacy or GP.

All our community pharmacists and their teams in Derby and Derbyshire hope you have a happy, healthy holiday.