The winter weather has taken hold with temperatures already dropping and that means a host of health problems that will add more pressure to our NHS services this year.
Slips on the ice and heart and lung conditions being made worse due to the cold are all common threats to people at this time of year and NHS services are already gearing up to handle the extra demand.
A&E in particular is often especially busy at this time as people head there instead of more appropriate services. This means many people are faced with much longer waiting times as the most seriously ill or life threatening emergencies are seen before anyone else.
GP services were extended to include appointments in the evening and weekends in the autumn and they are expected to be used fully throughout the winter. The Urgent Care centre at Victoria Hospital has also been given a facelift to help deal with more people going through its doors instead of going to the emergency department.
However the emphasis is still on residents to do their best to stay safe and avoid inappropriate use of health services as the cold weather continues. Health services are offering the following hints and tips to stay well:
- People with long term conditions are being asked to make sure they have all the medication they need and know how to prevent their condition becoming worse and what to do if it does.
- Everyone is reminded to make sure they have a well-stocked medicine cabinet by visiting their pharmacist for advice on treatments for common ailments such as coughs and colds.
- If you haven’t had a flu jab yet and are eligible for one you should make sure you get it to prevent becoming ill.
- If you have an elderly neighbour please check on them to make sure they are warm and have enough food – they may not want to go out in the cold so maybe you could pick up a few things for them!
- Be careful when driving, check road conditions and make sure your windscreen is properly defrosted before setting off to avoid accidents.
- Make sure your shoes are suitable for walking when pavements could be icy. Even if it means taking a change of shoes to work with you.
- Visit your pharmacist as soon as you start to feel unwell.
- If you’re not sure where to go for help go to nhs.uk or call NHS 111