Plan ahead to help yourself stay well this festive season
People are urged to plan ahead this festive season and ensure if they need any repeat prescriptions over the Christmas period to make arrangements and collect them in plenty of time.
People are also reminded:
• To choose services wisely. Medical advice is available from the NHS 111 number for free 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People in Cumbria are urged only to use 999 and A+E services only if it is a serious accident or life threatening illness.
• Pharmacists are experts in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions, minor ailments and common illnesses. Pharmacists will also be able to advise if patients need further medical attention. Opening hours for pharmacies over the Christmas period can be found at: http://www.northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/health-services/Pharmacy-Bank-Holiday-Opening/pharmacy-bank-holiday-opening.aspx
• General Practice will be open as normal on standard week days (excluding bank holidays) from 8am – 6:30pm. Extended access for non-urgent appointments will be available across the festive period including weekends and bank holidays. Extended access appointments can be booked through your own practice, even though the appointment may be at a different location.
• The www.nhs.uk website provides winter health advice, information about how to treat everyday winter illnesses and, if needed, where to go to for help.
• A free NHS Child health app is available. This is designed for parents and carers of children aged 0-5 years providing easy to understand guidance on childhood illnesses. It is available for download on mobile phones through Google Play or Apple’s App Store under the title of ‘NHS child health’.
• Common ailments such as coughs and colds can’t be treated with anti-biotics and are best dealt with at home with rest and a well-stocked medicine cabinet.
• Get your flu jab, flu vaccinations are offered free of charge to people who are at risk, pregnant women, carers and some young children to ensure that they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications.
• Keep warm – If you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, you should heat your home to at least 18C. If you’re under 65 and healthy and active, you can safely have your house cooler than 18C, if you’re comfortable.
• Eat well – food gives you energy, which helps to keep you warm. So, try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.
• Over the festive period check in on vulnerable neighbours and elderly to make sure they have everything they need, especially during times of bad weather.
Distington GP Dr Helen Horton said: “We would recommend people plan ahead and if they need a repeat prescription over the Christmas period to make arrangements to get it in plenty of time before the Christmas period starts.
“The weather often means many of us are spending more time indoors and unfortunately feeling unwell with coughs, colds and other viruses, which can be picked up through family, friends and colleagues at work.
“It is well worth making sure that your medicine cabinet is well stocked with over the counter remedies to ease the symptoms of common winter illnesses.
“The usual winter illnesses can make you feel unwell, and often self-care and symptom treatment is all that is needed. It is useful to have a stock of pain killers and other medicines, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen stocked in your medicine cabinet to ease the symptoms. These medicines can be bought from local pharmacies and shops. You can look after yourself by making sure you rest and drink plenty of fluid.”
Many people also suffer at this time of year with norovirus (or sickness bugs) and they are strongly advised not to visit anyone in hospital as they could be putting others at risk.
There is no treatment for norovirus but it’s important to keep yourself hydrated to prevent loss of fluids and practice good hand hygiene to help with prevention from the virus.
People are advised to stay away from other wherever possible for 48 hours after their last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting.
Creative short films and animation have been created and shared on social media to help illustrate some of these messages in a different way and can be found below:
Keep up to date with news, advice and information from the NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group on social media through Facebook at: facebook.com/nhscumbriaccg and on Twitter at: twitter.com/NHSCumbriaCCG
More advice to help people stay well this winter can be found at: www.northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/winter