Have an eggs-tra healthy Easter, doctors urge

Doctors are urging patients to stay healthy over the Easter holidays – and that means being prepared.

The Easter eggs have probably been bought for the young ones and family celebrations arranged but have the repeat prescriptions been ordered?

Being ill at holiday times is never fun so patients across Bradford and Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, are being urged by health professionals to stock up on vital medicines.

The advice has been issued by NHS Bradford City, NHS Bradford Districts and NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs.)

Making sure patients have enough medicines to see them through the Easter holidays, when GP surgeries are closed, can not only make a difference to patients’ health but it could also ensure doctors are not called out unnecessarily or that people are not heading to A&E when they don’t need to.

Doctors are also reminding patients of the benefits of using their local pharmacies. Pharmacists are qualified experts in the use of medicines and can give advice on common symptoms, medicines and healthy living. Many pharmacies are open over the Easter period and patients can locate their nearest pharmacy by visiting our local NHS services over Easter page

The pharmacy is also the perfect place to stock up medicine cabinets and useful items to consider include:

• pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
• cough and cold remedies
• sore throat remedies
• anti-diarrhoea treatments
• antihistamines
• indigestion remedies
• simple dressings and plasters

GPs are also reminding people who may start to feel unwell over the holidays to check their symptoms using the NHS Symptoms Checker page, which can advise them what kind of treatment they may need. In some cases “self-care” at home could be the answer.

When medical help is needed but it is not an emergency, people can ring NHS 111 for advice and direction to the most appropriate service. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free.

People are urged only to go to their local A&E department or dial 999 in critical or life-threatening situations. For example:

• loss of consciousness
• acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
• persistent, severe chest pain
• breathing difficulties
• severe bleeding that can't be stopped

In the case of heart attack or stroke, call 999 immediately. Every second counts with these conditions.

Dr Aamer Khan, urgent care lead for Bradford City CCG said: “Holidays are times when demand on emergency services increases dramatically so it is important that patients think: does this illness or injury really need emergency treatment? Sometimes self-care is the answer, especially for coughs and colds which cannot be treated with antibiotics anyway.

“If patients are taking regular medicines, making sure they have enough stocks to last over the holidays by getting organised with their repeat prescriptions is essential. This could prevent them becoming ill or even avert a medical emergency.”

Dr Colin Renwick, clinical chair at Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG said: “A well-stocked medicine cupboard is essential, especially over holiday times. Having home remedies to hand means peace of mind. People should pop into their local pharmacies and ask for advice about essential items.”

People can see a full list of Easter holiday pharmacy opening times on the three CCG websites on our local NHS services page.