Dr Bryan Anderson, Regional Medical Director for Harmoni, has issued a Christmas warning for the people of Milton Keynes.
Watch out for under-cooked turkeys, over-indulged stomachs and freezing weather as they are just some of the perils which could make your festive season less than merry – but a few common sense precautions should help you cope with the worst that winter may throw at us.
Dr Anderson offered the following advice to people to help ensure a healthy festive period and winter and relieve unnecessary pressure on health services, particularly during the holiday period.
He said: “At this time of year we spend a lot of time visiting friends and relatives and, unfortunately, can bring unwanted gifts such as the flu. Flu, particularly for older people and people in certain at risk groups, can be an extremely serious illness. If you are over 65, pregnant or in an at risk category – this includes people with diabetes and chronic heart, chest or kidney conditions – flu vaccinations are free. If you haven’t already done so, contact your GP surgery for a flu jab.
“Cold weather can be potentially fatal for older people, both in terms of hypothermia and slips and falls. Dressing warmly with several light layers of clothing, moving beds or chairs away from cold exterior walls, eating properly, taking regular warm drinks and staying active can all help people minimise the risk of hypothermia. If you know an older person living on their own, keep an eye out for them over the festive period. Why not take round a slice of Christmas cake and some Christmas cheer?
“Be prepared for minor health problems by keeping a well-stocked medicines cupboard that contains paracetamol, ibuprofen, indigestion remedies, cough mixture, mild laxatives and other medication that your family may need. Always read the label, be aware of any other medication you may be taking and keep out of the reach of young ones.
“Patients with repeat prescriptions should make sure they have enough medication to see them through the holiday period but, please, do not over-order. Repeat prescriptions can be obtained from pharmacists if you run out during the holiday period but there may be a charge.
“There is nothing wrong with a Christmas drink but try not to over-do it. If you are going out for a few drinks, it is best to eat beforehand and alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. If you are drinking alcohol, don’t risk driving – take the late bus, nominate a driver or arrange for a taxi to take you home.
“Believe it or not, one of the most common causes of ailments over Christmas is the turkey. Handled and cooked incorrectly, it can give very nasty food poisoning. Here are some tips from the Food Standards Agency to bear in mind.