The cold weather sees a rise across Wakefield in health problems such as coughs, colds and flu.
Most of us will get a cold over the winter as the virus spreads very easily. Colds are spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.
Cold symptoms are usually at their worst during the first two to three days - this is when you are likely to spread the virus. A cough in particular can last for two or three weeks.
Antibiotics are ineffective at treating coughs and colds, which are usually viral infections. Antibiotics will not cure a cold.
Jane O’Donnell, Head of Health Protection at Wakefield and Kirklees Council, said: “There are some easy things you can do to help prevent you from getting a cold.
“These include washing your hands regularly, not sharing towels and household items like cups with someone who has cold, and avoiding touching your eyes or nose, in case you have come into contact with the virus.
“The catch it, bin it, kill it method will make a huge difference in the fight against the spread of common colds and the more serious flu virus:
- CATCH IT: Always carry tissues and use them to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
- BIN IT: Dispose of used tissues as soon as possible
- KILL IT: Clean your hands with soap and warm water as soon as you can and make sure you wash them frequently.
“Following these steps will also help prevent the spread of flu, which is much more serious.
“An easy way to also prevent the spread of flu is to get the flu vaccination.
“The annual vaccine is free for people aged 65 years or over, children or adults with a long term health condition, frontline social care workers, pregnant women, children aged two to three and those in reception class and school years one to five.”
Dr Phillip Earnshaw, Chair of NHS Wakefield CCG and local GP, said: “GPs don't recommend antibiotics for colds because they won't relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery.
“Colds are self-limiting illnesses which means that given enough time you will recover without needing to receive medical treatment.
“Should you develop a cold (or even flu), there are a few ways you can help yourself feel better more quickly, including making sure you:
- Rest and sleep
- Keep warm
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and to treat aches and pains
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
“A pharmacist can provide treatment, advice and recommend flu and cold remedies also.
“We would only advise you to contact your GP practice if you aren’t getting any better after the usual recovery period, or if you are particularly worried or feeling very poorly.”
For more information on the catch it, kill it, bin it campaign, please visit: http://bit.do/catchit-binit-killit
For more information on flu, please visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu
For press enquiries, please contact the CCG’s Communication Team on press.officewakefieldccg.nhsuk or on 01924 317684