Get set for Christmas – how to stay well this winter
Christmas is just around the corner, so now is the time to make simple preparations to help you and your family should you become unwell over the festive season.
Several consecutive public holidays take place during the Christmas and New Year period, which means GPs, pharmacies and other healthcare service providers will all operate a reduced service. But if you can plan ahead, your plans need not be disrupted.
There are several easy ways to prepare for a healthy, happy Christmas and New Year:
- If you have a condition which requires medication, ensure you have sufficient supplies to cover the whole holiday shut-down and any trips away you have planned. Contact your pharmacy or GP by phone, online or in person in good time to order your repeat prescriptions
- Stock up on home medicine cabinet essentials for all the family - painkillers, hangover and indigestion remedies, cough and cold medicines, contraceptives and a minor injury first aid kit are all sensible items to have to hand and all are readily available from local pharmacies.
- Find out what health services will be open locally. Remember that an extended primary care service operates from two sites in Southwark, to provide access to a GP every day between 8am and 8pm. This can be accessed by contacting the GP out-of-hours service (SELDOC) - this is not a walk-in service and you will need to make an appointment.
- 'Bookmark' good online sources of health information, such as NHS Choices, which can offer reassurance and allow you to confidently manage a health problem. Useful information on when to seek help for a variety of health complaints is also available from the Self Care Forum, at http://www.selfcareforum.org/fact-sheets/
- Why not download the Health Help Now app, which contains a wealth of expert advice on keeping well? This NHS app has information on which local services are open, including pharmacies able to supply an emergency prescription. Visit the Health Help Now website or download the app from Google Play or app stores.
Check up on vulnerable friends and neighbours to ensure they have everything they need to keep themselves healthy. Older people are particularly at risk during the colder weather. During 2015-16, people in the 65-84 year age group accounted for over six million hospital admissions, according to NHS data.
Dr Jonty Heaversedge, Chair of NHS Southwark CCG, said: "The final weeks of the calendar year can see the longest waiting times for A&E, even though for two in every five people, the wait is unnecessary, as they will not need any treatment.
"We want people to enjoy themselves this Christmas and New Year, and with a little bit of health planning, there is no reason why that should not be the case. There are plenty of information and resources available to help people take care of themselves and to stay well this winter."