Only one in 10 people in the Borders have a well stocked medical cabinet, new research has revealed.
NHS Scotland has launched a major campaign to encourage people to prepare for winter after research found that many people are not as well prepared as they could be to look after themselves or their families if they have coughs or colds.
The Be Ready for Winter campaign highlights several simple steps that people, particularly parents, carers and the elderly, can take to keep themselves and their families well during the cold months.
Independent research carried out on behalf of the campaign shows that only 11 per cent of people in the Borders have the most common remedies – including items such as paracetamol, cough mixture, throat lozenges, and cold and flu treatments – in their medicine cabinet.
The research into winter remedies showed that a third of people in the Borders have just one or two of the usual items, with paracetamol being the most common remedy stocked at home.
The survey also revealed that elderly people are least likely to be well stocked with home remedies for winter health.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Sheena MacDonald, associate medical director and chair of primary and community services for NHS Borders, said: “In these colder months, it’s important for everyone, particularly elderly people, to take a few simple steps so they are prepared if they are unlucky enough to catch a cough or cold.
“Although colds and flu can make you feel really ill, pharmacists can often provide the best help and advice on restocking your medicine cabinet. Finding out when your local GP practice is open and scheduling an appointment before they close for the festive period is also another way of making sure you are not caught out this winter.
“People can also access out of hours GP services through NHS 24.”
The Be Ready for Winter campaign recommends the following four steps:
* Restock your winter medicine cabinet - Many children and adults pick up common winter ailments such as a cold or flu-like illness. These can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine. Parents are reminded to restock their medicine cabinet with remedies suitable for children.
* Use your local pharmacy - Your local pharmacy is an accessible resource for you and your family. Your pharmacist can offer advice or help if you have run out of any prescribed medication. You can also collect medicine for minor ailments or illnesses.
* Make sure you have repeat prescriptions - 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 Christmas holiday period.
* Know when your GP surgery will be open - Your local doctor’s surgery will be open on Friday, December 24, then closed for four days during the Christmas period. It will reopen on Wednesday, December 29. The surgery will be shut from January 1-4 and reopen on Wednesday, January 5.
General advice and information on how to stay healthy during the winter can be found at www.nhsinform.co.uk or contact NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.