Grab the menthol chest balm and rehydration tabs!

Fear of further lockdowns has sparked the return of people panic-buying loo rolls and supermarket rationing. 

But if you come down with Covid-19 and can't get to the shops, a toilet roll isn't going to help tackle your symptoms or make you more comfortable. 

Here, CAROLINE JONES asks the health experts what supplies we should be stocking up on — in addition to a decent thermometer — just in case . . .

People have been rushing to panic-buy loo rolls at supermarkets once again as coronavirus cases continue to rise

People have been rushing to panic-buy loo rolls at supermarkets once again as coronavirus cases continue to rise 

PARACETAMOL

A standard box of 24 paracetamol tablets is a necessary basic for dealing with fevers and pain, says Dr Nisa Aslam, a GP in London.

A standard box of 24 paracetamol tablets is a necessary basic for dealing with fevers and pain

A standard box of 24 paracetamol tablets is a necessary basic for dealing with fevers and pain

It's not clear exactly how the pills work, but with a fever they're thought to affect the area of the brain that regulates body temperature. 

With pain they block the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are responsible for sending pain messages to the brain.

Massive demand in March, when Covid cases were increasing fast, led to a shortage across the UK.

'If you can't find any, cold and flu combination tablets or remedies that you make up into a liquid, such as Lemsip, also contain paracetamol,' says Dr Aslam.

But she warns: 'Be aware that they often contain caffeine and decongestants, so may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with heart conditions.'

O.R.S. Hydration Tablets (£4.32, boots.com)

O.R.S. Hydration Tablets (£4.32, boots.com) 

REHYDRATION TABS 

'The fever caused by Covid-19 can make your body lose more fluid than usual through sweating, as can diarrhoea and vomiting,' says Dr Aslam.

'Drink plenty of water or diluted squash — or you could try a rehydration drink.' 

O.R.S. Hydration Tablets (£4.32, boots.com) can be dissolved into a glass of water and contain electrolytes — vital salts such as sodium and potassium which keep the muscles and nervous system functioning properly — plus sugar for energy, which the body loses when dehydrated.

MENTHOL CHEST BALM 

Rubbing a menthol balm such as Vicks VapoRub (£4.35, boots.com) on your chest can help soothe an inflamed airway

Rubbing a menthol balm such as Vicks VapoRub (£4.35, boots.com) on your chest can help soothe an inflamed airway

A persistent dry cough is a common symptom of Covid-19. 

Rubbing a menthol balm such as Vicks VapoRub (£4.35, boots.com) on your chest or back and inhaling it can help soothe an inflamed airway, reducing discomfort and coughs, says Dr Aslam.

LEMON AND HONEY 

Mixing hot water with lemon juice and a little honey can help ease the symptoms of a dry cough

Mixing hot water with lemon juice and a little honey can help ease the symptoms of a dry cough

Mixtures containing glycerol or sucrose in particular will ease the dry cough that is associated with the coronavirus.

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