The NHS in Birmingham & Solihull is encouraging members of the public to choose their health services wisely over the festive period.
There are lots of services available to help with a variety of illnesses and injuries including pharmacies, GP practices, Out-of-Hours services, NHS Direct and walk-in centres.
With the many services that are available, it can be confusing to decide where the best place is to be treated. Below are some examples of conditions that you might experience at Christmas and where to go for advice and treatment.
1. Cold and flu: Self care at home. If youre feeling a little run down after too many late nights, you may be more susceptible to a cold. Take pain-relieving paracetamol, stay well hydrated and rest.
2. An itchy rash on your skin: Pharmacy. Allergic reaction to that new aftershave you got for Christmas? Pharmacists will be able to assess a rash and provide you with medication to help alleviate your symptoms. To find your nearest pharmacist visit www.nhs.uk or text Pharmacy to 64746 for free.
3. Stomach ache: GP. Over-indulgence and eating lots of rich food over the festive period may lead to indigestion. Your pharmacist will be able to provide indigestion remedies, but if your stomach ache persists, your GP will be able to advise you of the best course of investigation and treatment.
4. A cut to your finger: Walk-in centre. Be extra careful using a very sharp knife to carve your Christmas turkey, but if you do cut yourself and it is fairly deep and bleeding, visit your walk-in centre or minor injuries unit where they will be able to advise and treat you if necessary. To find your nearest walk-in centre text Walk to 64746 for free or visit www.nhs.uk
5. Sprains & strains: Walk-in centre, self care at home or GP. Rushing around on icy pavements to do your last-minute Christmas shopping can lead to slips and trips. Take care and wear supportive, flat boots or shoes if you venture out in ice or snow. If you do fall and sprain your ankle or wrist, you can visit a walk-in centre for assessment, rest at home, or make an appointment to see your GP.
Local GP Dr Nick Harding commented: People should make good use of their local pharmacy, many of which will be open over Christmas when other services may be closed. Were urging the public to choose well this winter, and pharmacies are the best place to get the right advice and treatment for coughs, colds and flu, along with many other illnesses.
Another useful service to remember is NHS Direct 0845 46 47, which offers health advice and information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Were also reminding people to make sure they have all the medication they need for the Christmas period and have ordered their prescriptions in time to cover the holidays.
Pharmacy Christmas opening hours for the West Midlands are available on the NHS local website at: http://nhslocal.nhs.uk/my-health/christmas-pharmacy-times.