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Have an eggs-tra healthy Easter, doctors urge

Have an eggs-tra healthy Easter, doctors urge
25 March 2015

Doctors are urging patients to stay healthy over the Easter holidays – and that means being prepared.

Easter preparations are probably already underway with holidays booked, chocolate goodies bought and family celebrations arranged but have the repeat prescriptions been ordered? 

Being ill at holiday times is never fun so patients across Barnsley are being urged by health professionals to stock up on vital medicines.

The advice has been issued by NHS Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG.)

Making sure patients have enough medicines to see them through the Easter holidays, when GP surgeries are closed, can not only make a difference to patients’ health but it could also ensure doctors are not called out unnecessarily or that people are not heading to A&E when they don’t need to.

Doctors are also reminding patients of the benefits of using their local pharmacies. Pharmacists are qualified experts in the use of medicines and can give advice on common symptoms, medicines and healthy living. Many pharmacies are open over the Easter period and patients can locate their nearest pharmacy by visiting the NHS Choices website – www.nhs.uk

The pharmacy is also the perfect place to stock up medicine cabinets and useful items to consider include:

  • pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • cough and cold remedies
  • sore throat remedies
  • anti-diarrhoea treatments
  • antihistamines
  • indigestion remedies
  • simple dressings and plasters

GPs are also reminding people who may start to feel unwell over the holidays to check their symptoms using the NHS Symptoms Checker page, which can advise them what kind of treatment they may need. In some cases “self-care” at home could be the answer. https://www.nhs.uk/symptomcheckers/pages/symptoms.aspx

When medical help is needed but it is not an emergency, people can ring NHS 111 for advice and direction to the most appropriate service. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free.

People are urged only to go to their local A&E department or dial 999 in critical or life-threatening situations. For example:

  • loss of consciousness 
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • persistent, severe chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that can't be stopped

In the case of heart attack or stroke, call 999 immediately. Every second counts with these conditions.

Dr Nick Balac, Chair of Barnsley CCG said: “Holidays are times when demand on emergency services increases dramatically so it is important that patients think: does this illness or injury really need emergency treatment? Sometimes self-care is the answer, especially for coughs and colds which cannot be treated with antibiotics anyway.

“If patients are taking regular medicines, making sure they have enough stocks to last over the holidays by getting organised with their repeat prescriptions is essential. This could prevent them becoming ill or even avert a medical emergency.”

Dr Balac added: “Easter is also a time when people might be thinking about getting into the garden to do some work or tackling a bit of DIY. Our advice would be to take extra care when using tools or mechanical equipment and when climbing ladders to avoid accidents and unnecessary visits to A&E.”

A full list of Easter holiday GP practice and pharmacy opening times is available on here.