Bugs seem to be everywhere during the colder months

The best way for you to stay well is to do everything you can to prevent yourself from getting ill in the first place – or if you fall ill, to take the right steps to get better quickly to stop things from getting worse.

You can treat many minor health conditions without seeing a GP.

Our top tips are:

  • Keep a well stocked medicine cabinet at home with over the counter medicines suitable for you and your family.
  • Visit your local community pharmacist at the first signs of illness for advice and over the counter medicines.
  • Get a flu vaccination – it’s free if you fall into one of the eligible criteria.
  • If you are unsure what to do or you have an urgent need, call 111.
  • Remember, you can access GP appointments in the evenings and at weekends.  Call your practice or 111 for further information.
  • For emergency or life threatening conditions, call 999 or go to the nearest accident and emergency department at a hospital.

Medicine cabinet essentials

The following medications can be bought from local community pharmacies, local supermarkets or several other retail outlets:

  • Simple painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • Sore throat, coughs, colds and flu medications
  • Heartburn and indigestion remedies
  • Anti-diarrhoea medication
  • Rehydration salts
  • Allergy medicines
  • Pile (haemorrhoid) treatments
  • First aid kit including plasters and bandages

Speak with your local community pharmacist about what medicines are suitable for you and your family, particularly if this includes children as they may require something different to you.

Get advice from a local community pharmacist

If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s just a cough or a cold, don’t wait for it to get worse.  Seek immediate advice from your nearest pharmacist.  

Get a flu vaccination

The flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at greater risk.  This includes:

  • People over 65 years
  • Pregnant women
  • Young children aged 2-3 years (only available at a GP practice)
  • Pre-school children and children in school years 1-5
  • Those with a long term health condition or weakened immune system
  • Carers
  • Front line health and care workers

Find out more on the flu vaccineIf you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, talk to your local community pharmacist or GP, both of them can offer vaccinations.

Not sure what to do?

You can call 111 at any time of day or night.  They will give you professional advice and support, and will make sure you get the care you need whether that be advice on self care, booking a GP appointment, signposting to a dentist, booking you into an urgent treatment centre or it’s more serious calling an ambulance.

Evening and weekend GP appointments

Richmond provides access to GP appointments from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.  They are provided across two locations in the borough.

For evening appointments, contact your own GP practice before 5pm or call 111 to make an appointment.

For weekend appointments, call 111.

What to do if your GP practice or pharmacy is closed

Pharmacies across Richmond work together to ensure that cover is provided over holiday periods.  We publish pharmacy opening times for bank holidays in our news section of this website.

If your GP practice or the extended hours GP appointments are closed, you can call 111 or visit the NHS website for further information and support.

Further information

The Richmond Council website offers information and links to support services, including financial help, on staying well in the winter.

If you would like to order Help Us Help You promotional campaign materials, search Public Health England Campaign Resource Centre and register for a free account.