Frequently asked questions

  • Q:
    What is a fever?
    A:
    A fever is when our body temperature increases temporarily.36 The normal body temperature is 37°C, but this could be raised slightly depending on the time of day or your activity before taking your temperature.36 A fever is a sign that our body is fighting something out of the ordinary, such as an infection or inflammation.36
  • Q:
    What is inflammation?
    A:
    Inflammation is our body's natural protective response to an injury, irritation or surgery.38 It happens when your body's white blood cells release chemicals into an injured area to help it heal.39 One of the side-effects of the chemical is that fluids may leak into the surrounding tissue which causes pain, swelling, redness, and warmth.39
  • Q:
    What is an acute pain?
    A:
    Acute pain begins suddenly and does not last longer than 3 months.2 It arises as a consequence of injury or disease and has a warning function.1
  • Q:
    What is a chronic pain?
    A:
    Chronic pain lasts for months or years and may result in other problems, such as depression and disturbed sleep.2 Unlike acute pain, chronic pain has lost its warning function and is due to a malfunction of the nervous system.1
  • Q:
    Why can pain feel different?
    A:
    Pain feels different depending on where it originates in your body. Superficial pain that originates in the skin, e.g. a needle prick, is sharp and easily located.1 On the other hand, deep pain that originates from deeper structures, such as bone, joints, and muscle, feels dull, often radiates to the surrounding area and is difficult to localise.1 Pain that originates from our intestines tends to be dull and colicky, with accompanying symptoms such as nausea.1
  • Q:
    Should I only take pain medication when I'm in a lot of pain?
    A:
    It is easier to control pain when it is mild so don't wait until your pain becomes too intense before you take a pain-reliever.61 This also means that you shouldn't always wait for the pain to intensify before taking the next scheduled dose.61 Take your pain medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Q:
    Which over-the-counter pain medication is right for me?
    A:
    Your doctor or pharmacist will recommend an over-the-counter pain medication based on your health condition, age, the symptoms you're experiencing and any sensitivity you might have to active ingredients. Whatever medication you're given, make sure that you never take more than directed or for longer than directed. Be sure to ask your pharmacist for medication that is trusted to have a proven and effective combination of active ingredients.
  • Q:
    Can codeine be addictive?
    A:
    Codeine is a narcotic pain reliever similar to morphine.62 Since it is a narcotic it has a potential for abuse if it is misused.62 In South Africa, codeine-containing medicines are currently available both over the counter in pharmacies and as prescribed formulations.63 In a bid to regulate the safe supply of codeine, regulations are in place that restrict the amount of codeine available over-the-counter.63 Although codeine-containing medicines are effective, greater awareness and education about codeine’s potential misuse is needed.63