With the egg-citement of the Easter break and preparations taking place to enjoy the long weekend, health officials are warning that there is likely to be extra pressure on the health services and are urging people to prepare in advance and use the right health services appropriately.
The Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across Coventry and Warwickshire are reminding patients who take regular medication to ensure they have enough repeat medicines in stock to last them across this period.
Anyone needing a repeat prescription is being encouraged to contact their surgery early, so that prescriptions can be ready and patients don’t risk leaving a gap in their treatment.
Health officials are also reminding people that while some GP surgeries are closed, there are a number of community pharmacies open and are a good first port of call on a range of health issues.
Dr David Spraggett, GP and Chair of NHS South Warwickshire CCG, said: “Some simple preparations in advance of the bank holiday season can benefit patients and health services alike.
“The holiday period is a time best spent with friends and family, and not at your local A&E department. By taking simple measures to keep healthy – such as keeping a well-stocked medicines cabinet, and knowing what services are available to you if you do become ill, will help make best use of your time, and that of the emergency services who are left free to treat serious cases.
“There will be some GP surgeries and community pharmacies open during the bank holiday period to help provide advice and treatment on a range of health issues. If you are not sure what to do, then calling the free, NHS 111 number – which is available 24 hours a day 365 days a year - is the best way to seek help and advice.”
Your pharmacist is a qualified health professional and may be able to help with your health needs over the holidays while some of the other health services are busy with patients suffering more serious illness or injuries.
Stock up now with the following:
• Pain relief – paracetamol and ibuprofen are the most common painkillers and are available in tablet and liquid form. Aspirin and ibuprofen also reduce inflammation. Please note: aspirin should not be given to anyone under the age of 16.
• Anti-diarrhoea medicine – make sure you drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquid for the first 24 hours when symptoms appear in order to keep hydrated. Your pharmacist can also recommend rehydration drinks.
• Sore throat remedies – ask your pharmacist about sprays to ease soreness. Adults can also gargle with soluble aspirin to ease the pain.
• Cough remedies – ask your pharmacist about different types of linctus which will aid different types of coughs, i.e. dry and tickly or loose.
• Plasters and bandages – it always pays to be well-stocked in the event of minor cuts and scrapes. Ask your pharmacist about anti-allergy plasters.
• Thermometer – this can be useful if someone in the family develops a cold or if a young child becomes ill. As a general rule a temperature of over 37.5 (99.5F) is a fever.
• Antihistamines – these are useful for allergies and runny noses. Ask your pharmacist about the types available. Some antihistamines cause drowsiness and are not recommended if you are driving or operating machinery.
• Antiseptic cream – this is a medicine cabinet essential in the event or cuts and scrapes, as well as bites and stings (which are rarer in winter but can still occur.)
• Laxatives – constipation can occur at any time. Ask your pharmacist about the types available (tablets or sachets) and which ones are suitable for children or the elderly.
• Children’s medicines – there is a huge variety available to treat a whole range of minor illnesses and conditions. Ask your pharmacist about sugar-free varieties if your child is taking one regularly.
For further health advice, visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk/asap
Press release provided by NHS Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit