Where to go if you fall ill over Christmas

The average remaining life expectancy in East Lindsey is slightly lower than average, at 19.3 years.
The average remaining life expectancy in East Lindsey is slightly lower than average, at 19.3 years.

With Christmas imminent, health bosses are advising patients on where to go if they or a loved one gets ill over the festive season.

More people get ill during the winter months as the cold weather can trigger or worsen health problems such as asthma, throat infections and flu. But most common illnesses and injuries can be treated in the comfort of your own home through self-care, instead of going to A&E which should only be for emergencies.

Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (MKCCG) is urging local residents to make sure that they have a fully-stocked medicine cabinet. If you have a prescription make sure that you pick it up before the busy Christmas period - with GP surgeries closed on Christmas and New Year bank holidays, it’s important to plan ahead and get your repeat prescription organised.

You can also call the NHS 111 helpline if you need advice, or visit your local pharmacy. If you do need urgent treatment, you can go to the Urgent Care Centre at Milton Keynes Hospital.

The highly contagious norovirus is also more common at this time of year and can affect people of all ages. Although it’s unpleasant, it is not advised to book an appointment with your GP as the virus is contagious and most people make a full recovery within a couple of days. You can take care of yourself by drinking lots of water and taking paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains, and should only contact your GP for advice if the symptoms last longer than a few days.

Dr Nicola Smith, GP chair of MKCCG, said: “The last place you want to be over Christmas is in A&E, but the majority of minor illnesses can be treated much more quickly at home.

“Christmas is a time to relax and spend with your family, but it’s also a time when more people are unwell. Because of this, by stocking up the medicine cabinet with painkillers, anti-diarrhoeal medicine and indigestion remedies, you will be well prepared if you do fall ill this Christmas to be able to treat minor illnesses and injuries at home.

“It’s an important message, but you should only go to A&E for serious and life-threatening conditions.”

For further information visit www.miltonkeynesccg.nhs.uk/christmas-care

Find a full list of pharmacy opening times in Milton Keynes over Christmas and New Year at www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/local/pharmacy-opening-times-over-christmas-in-milton-keynes-1-6471059