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Be prepared and stock up this winter

Now the countdown to Christmas has begun, local GPs are advising patients to plan ahead to help stay well this winter.

Dr Dinesh Patel, local GP and Chair of Greater Preston Clinical Commissioning Group said: “At such a busy and exciting time of year, it’s important that people with long term health conditions think about their health and order and collect any repeat prescriptions at least a week in advance of Christmas Day.

“We want to make sure that people with these illnesses have a good Christmas and New Year. There is a danger that if they run out of their medication, they could end up seriously ill and even in hospital, which is the last thing they want over Christmas.

“Our advice is to check whether you are up to date with your medication and if necessary contact your GP for a repeat prescription in advance.”

If you are unwell after your GP surgery closes and you think you need to see an out of hours GP, you can call NHS 111 for help and advice. The trained operator will advise you on the most appropriate service for your need and, if necessary, will arrange for an out of hours doctor or nurse to call you to make an appointment with an out of hours GP at Chorley Hospital or Royal Preston Hospital.

During the Christmas period, GP surgeries and pharmacies may operate different opening hours. You can check these opening times directly with your GP practice or pharmacy. Additionally you can visit the CCG website. 

Now is also a good time to double check that home medicine cabinets are well stocked with over-the-counter remedies so that minor illnesses and injuries can be managed at home. If you are unsure of what medicines you should have in stock at home, your pharmacist will be able to advise. Some of these medicines are:

  • Painkillers such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen are highly effective at relieving most minor aches and pains.
  • Antihistamines are useful for dealing with hayfever, allergies and insect bites.
  • As well as the medicines discussed above, keep a well-prepared first aid kit to help treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises. It should contain the following items: bandages, plasters, thermometer, antiseptic, eyewash solution, sterile dressings, medical tape and tweezers.

Don't forget that pharmacies can provide useful advice and deal with minor ailments without you having to see your GP about winter bugs like coughs, colds, sore throats, stomach upsets and flu.

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