HEALTH AND CARE: Put health top of your list this Christmas

Dr David Whitehead, clinical director of NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group

Dr David Whitehead, clinical director of NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group

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As the NHS in West Sussex prepares for one of its busiest periods of the year, Dr David Whitehead, NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group’s clinical director, is asking residents to put their health at the top of their “To Do” list this Christmas.

To help here are five simple steps to a healthier, happier holiday:

• A flu jab could be the best present you give yourself and your family this Christmas. They are available at GP surgeries and some pharmacies. Children aged two to four can have a nasal flu spray and pregnant women, older people and those with other health conditions get them for free.

• Check that you and your family, particularly those who are staying with you, have all the prescription medicines they will need over the holidays. And, most importantly, remember to pack any medication if you are going away. At weekends NHS 111 takes up to 180 calls a day for emergency repeat medication alone. Prepare, don’t panic, when you should be having fun.

• As well as stocking up on stuffing, mince pies and cranberry sauce, it is worth making sure you have paracetamol and ibuprofen. And check that the medication at the back of the cupboard is in date, so that you are ready to head off the winter woes of coughs, colds and tummy bugs.

• If you are laid low with minor illnesses like coughs, colds or tummy bugs, talk to your local pharmacist, who can give expert and immediate advice. To help you check which pharmacies are open in your area over the holidays – even on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day visit www.coastalwestsussexccg.nhs.uk.

• If you do fall ill and need medical advice, particularly if you are over 60 and if your pharmacists has not been able to help you, then dial NHS 111. They can refer you for more help if you need it.

Dr Whitehead said: “There are some simple steps that everyone can take to have a happier Christmas this year. It may not be glamorous but having a flu jab before the celebrations start could be the best present you can give yourself and your family.

“Nobody plans to take to their bed as the turkey is due in the oven, or have their medication run out as the best Christmas film starts, but if you don’t think ahead it could happen to you, or to someone you love.

“That is why we are providing everyone with five simple steps to a healthy holiday as part of their Christmas preparations, and reminding everyone to use the help available if you and yours are feeling under the weather over the break.

“We have put together a list of pharmacists open over the holidays across the area and 111 is only a phone call away.”

NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group is the NHS organisation that, together with its 48 GP practices, plan and buy health services for the population.

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