Too much festive cheer? Here’s how to cope…

If you stuffed yourself silly and drank your drinks cupboard dry this Christmas, you probably had a very merry time indeed. But now the festivities are over you’ve been left with a thumping headache, a sore tummy or the feeling you’ve been completely drained of energy – or possibly all three.

The good news is there’s relief for festive overindulgence symptoms, including products you can buy from your local Careway pharmacy.

Hangover soothers There is no cure for a hangover so ideally you should try to avoid having one by making sure you don’t drink more alcohol than your body can cope with. For tips on drinking less, read our article How to drink smart this Christmas.

If it’s too late and you already have a splitting headache accompanied by nausea and dizziness, one thing you should do straight away is to drink plenty of water. Dehydration is what causes many of the symptoms of a hangover, so it’s a good idea to drink a large glass before going to bed when you’ve been drinking, then sip more water during the night to keep yourself hydrated.

Also ask your pharmacist to recommend an over-the-counter painkiller that could help you cope with a thumping head. Drink plenty of water in the morning too, and if you can face it, add some fruit juice, as the sugar could help you feel less shaky.

Over-the-counter painkillers – for example paracetamol – can help with headaches and muscle cramps, while eating sugary foods may help you feel less shaky. Also keep drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.

Your pharmacist may also be able to supply you with an ice pack that may help soothe pain when placed on your forehead or the back of your neck. Alternatively you can use a bag of frozen peas or a handful of ice cubes – in both cases, wrap them in a towel before putting them next to your skin.

A cup of ginger tea may also help settle your stomach and relieve nausea.

Indigestion tamers If eating too much or having richer food than normal tends to upset your stomach, it’s a good idea to keep a selection of medicines at home. Your pharmacist can recommend over-the-counter medicines that may help ease the symptoms of indigestion and heartburn, as well as other digestive upsets such as nausea, diarrhoea and general stomach discomfort.

Your pharmacist can also give you advice on the best way to take these medicines, so you can get back on your feet as quickly as possible. But if you are affected by persistent tummy problems, not just at Christmas time, make an appointment with your GP to rule out any possible underlying health problems.

Energy boosters Many of us have more on our plates than usual in the run-up to Christmas as well as the big day itself. So it’s no wonder we can sometimes feel drained during and after the holidays. If this sounds familiar, try to eat regular healthy meals and snacks to keep your energy levels high rather than lots of sugary or fatty Christmas treats, and try not to skip breakfast.

Choose plenty of foods rich in B vitamins, as these may help give you an energy boost – fill up on green leafy veg, fortified cereals and a yeast extract product such as Marmite. If you think you may not be getting enough vitamin B in your diet, ask your pharmacist for advice on taking a B complex supplement.

Drinking lots of water to help keep you hydrated will also make you feel less tired, and getting out into the fresh air for a brisk walk will really help you feel more alert.

Meanwhile if you often feel low in energy – not just at Christmas – it may be a sign of a health problem such as anaemia. Your GP can diagnose anaemia via a simple blood test, or alternatively you can ask your pharmacist for advice.

Pharmacy opening times at Christmas

All parts of the UK have a pharmacy rota for opening times on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Festive pharmacy rotas are often published in local newspapers, or you can phone NHS 111 free of charge to find out which pharmacy in your area is operating an out-of-hours service.

You can also find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.