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Stock up before the Christmas holidays to ensure you Stay Well This Winter

Vale of York residents are being advised to stock up on over-the-counter remedies, food and knowledge to ensure they ‘Stay Well This Winter’ during the Christmas and new year holiday season.

A Vale of York-specific version of the nationwide Stay Well This Winter initiative has been launched to encourage people to self-treat minor illnesses and ailments at home, saving them a trip to see their GP in the process.

Vale of York GPs, in partnership with local NHS and public and voluntary sector organisations, have developed a suite of useful information to help people keep well during the upcoming holiday season and throughout winter. 

The topics include:

  • Self-care treatments
  • General advice about staying well over winter
  • The flu vaccine
  • Norovirus
  • Pharmacy opening hours over Christmas and new year
  • Pathways to more information (e.g. NHS Choices)

Stock up on over-the-counter remedies and ensure you have enough prescription medicine

Many illnesses are self-limiting, meaning they will eventually clear up on their own, so you don’t need to see your GP for treatment. They can be treated at home using over-the-counter products that are available from your local pharmacy.

Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet is always a good idea so that you’re well prepared for when you do become unwell, and even more so during the Christmas period when access to your GP might be limited.

You might want to keep an adequate supply of:

  • Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
  • Decongestants
  • Cough medicines and throat lozenges
  • Antihistamines
  • Heartburn and indigestion medicine
  • Anti-diarrhoea
  • Antiseptic cream/wipes 

Also be sure to order and collect any prescriptions in good time before the Christmas holidays to ensure you don’t run out of medicine over the festive season.

Stock up on knowledge (pharmacy and GP weekend and bank holiday opening times)

Make sure you know when your local pharmacy is open at weekends and over the Christmas holidays.

Pharmacists can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses such as colds, flu, minor rashes and pain relief. They can also help answer any questions you may have about the medication you are taking.

A selection of pharmacies in the Vale of York area will be open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day so find out which one is nearest to you. This information can be found at www.valeoforkccg.nhs.uk/winter.

Some GP surgeries are offering evening and weekend appointments. Be sure to check with your registered GP to determine whether this is a service that they offer.

But please note that pharmacies do provide many of the same services that your GP does. They don’t require you to book an appointment and are often open late and on weekends, when your GP surgery might be closed.

Stock up on food and essentials (to keep you going when unwell)

Some illnesses can leave you feeling under the weather for up to six weeks so it’s advisable to stock up on food and other household essentials to keep you going if you do succumb to illness over the winter months.

The last thing you’ll want to do when poorly is venture out in the cold to buy food and other provisions, so make sure you have a variety of plain foods such as soup, bread, pasta and rice.

Dr Andrew Phillips, a local GP and the CCG’s joint medical director, said: “The last thing you want is for your Christmas to be ruined by illness so be sure to stock up on over-the-counter remedies to help alleviate symptoms of illness before you succumb to them.

“Be sure to order and collect any prescriptions you may need over the holidays in good time before Christmas, and make a note of when your local pharmacy and GP surgery will be open over the festive period.

“Lastly, it pays to have a good stock of food to save you having to go to the shops when you’re feeling poorly.”

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