Paracetamol is a medicine cabinet essential, often used to treat mild to moderate pain and reduce fever. You can also find it in a range of cold and flu treatments, as well as combined with other painkillers and anti-sickness medication.
With flu season around the corner, Britons may be stocking up on painkillers and cold and flu remedies.
Both coronavirus and flu can cause aches and pains, headaches, high temperatures and general feelings of being unwell.
Taking painkillers like paracetamol can lessen these symptoms, making colds and flu manageable at home.
You can purchase painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen at most supermarkets and pharmacies – however, there are restrictions on age and the number of tablets you can buy at once.
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How old do you have to be to buy paracetamol?
One of the things the NHS advises to take if you have coronavirus or flu symptoms is paracetamol.
The painkiller targets aches and pains and can also help to reduce a fever.
There are no current legal restrictions on buying medications, however, some retail outlets have their own guidelines.
For example, Sainsbury’s restrictions policy is “that sales are restricted to a maximum of two packets of a combination of any paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen based products in a single transaction.
“Sales are also restricted to customers aged 16 and over.”
Tesco’s guidelines for buying medication is customers must be 16 or over, but they operate a think 25 policy.
This means if you look younger than 25, you will be asked for proof of age, such as photographic ID like a driving license or passport.
In short, it will depend on which store you visit to buy your pain relief as to whether an age restriction is in place.
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NHS flu advice
Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:
- a sudden high temperature of 38C or above
- an aching body
- feeling tired or exhausted
- a dry cough
- a sore throat
- a headache
- difficulty sleeping
- loss of appetite
- diarrhoea or tummy pain
- feeling sick and being sick
To help you get better more quickly:
- rest and sleep
- keep warm
- take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
- drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)
If you are worried about yourself or someone else who has the flu the NHS advises you should get advice from 111.
Get advice from 111 if
- you’re worried about your baby’s or child’s symptoms
- you’re 65 or over
- you’re pregnant
- you have a long-term medical condition – for example, diabetes or a heart, lung, kidney or neurological disease
- you have a weakened immune system – for example, because of chemotherapy or HIV
- your symptoms do not improve after 7 days
NHS 111 will tell you what to do. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.
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