As the county’s district hospitals feel the pressure from many more elderly, frail and sick patients being admitted, Somerset’s family doctors are reminding people that there are many practical things they can do to help themselves stay well this winter.
If you are starting to feel ill or have a minor injury or ailment just stop for a moment and consider what health treatment you really need the deal with the problem. It could save you considerable time and inconvenience.
Dr Ed Ford, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s GP Lead for Urgent Care, says:
“This time of year GPs see lots of patients with colds, coughs and sore throats. You can help yourself and the NHS this winter but helping to keep yourself and family members well by acting fast and nipping minor illness and ailments in the bud. Your local pharmacist is an excellent source of health advice and over-the-counter remedies and if you get ill overnight or don’t know where to go for medical treatment telephone 111. It’s free to call and they can signpost you to the health service you need.”
Stay well this winter:
GET A FLU JAB: If you are over 65 years old or have a long-term health problem get a free flu jab from your GP.
STAY WARM: Keep your home warm. No less than 18 degrees Celsius (65 Fahrenheit) and eat a hot meal every day and make yourself plenty of hot drinks.
There is more advice on the NHS “Stay Well this Winter” web site at: www.nhs.uk/staywell.
ORDER YOUR REPEAT PRESCRIPTIONS EARLY:
Make sure you order your repeat medicines in plenty of time before the Christmas and New Year holiday.
If you start to feel unwell or need medical advice or support here are some options:
SELF CARE: Keep a few common, over the counter remedies at home. They can help you to look after yourself. But make sure you see your pharmacist or GP if troublesome symptoms persist or worsen.
Keep some medicines at home. These might include: Paracetamol or ibuprofen, remedies for indigestion or diarrhoea, plasters and a thermometer
VISIT YOUR LOCAL PHARMACISTS: Cough or cold, feeling unwell and ill and need advice? Visit your pharmacy for personal advice on common illnesses and for information on the best medicines for treatment. You can find your nearest pharmacist by searching online at: www.nhs.uk or by telephoning 111.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT AT YOUR GP PRACTICE: If your symptoms go on for a week or two make an appointment with your GP Practice.
TELEPHONE NHS 111: Telephone 111 when you need medical advice or information quickly or when you don’t know what to do or where to go for treatment. Calls to 111 are free from mobiles and landlines to this 24/7 service.
You should call 111 if you become ill after your GP surgery has closed and need advice or medical help. You will be assessed, given advice and directed straight away to the local service that will help you best.
YEOVIL HEALTH CENTRE: Located on the top floor of Boots in Middle Street, Yeovil the centre is open all year round. All conditions which are not life threatening can be treated here. Yeovil Health Centre also provides emergency contraception and sexual health advice and treatment.
Normal GP and nurse care is available as well as quick and convenient health checks including blood pressure and cholesterol. No appointments are necessary, walk in for prompt attention. Open 8am to 8pm, telephone 01935 709 269 www.yeovilhealthcentre.nhs.uk/
COMMUNITY HOSPITAL MINOR INJURY UNIT: Many of Somerset’s community hospitals have Minor Injury Units (MIU). There are MIUs at community hospitals in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Glastonbury, Minehead and Shepton Mallet.
If your injury is not serious you can get help from a minor injuries unit (MIU) rather than a busy hospital A&E department. By doing so you allow A&E staff to concentrate on people with serious and life-threatening conditions and save yourself a potentially long wait.
To check your local MIU’s location and opening hours telephone 111 or go to: www.sompar.nhs.uk/our_services/adult_services/minor_injuries_unit
ACCIDENT AND EMERGENCY: Only use A&E or call 999 for life threatening and emergency conditions. If a family member is experiencing chest pain, stroke, heavy bleeding or has become unconscious telephone 999 immediately for an ambulance.
Further information on how to protect yourself and your family visit can be found at: www.nhs.uk.
If any member of the public believes themselves, or a friend or relative, is experiencing a life threatening medical emergency then they should always telephone 999 and ask for an ambulance.