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NHS Tayside Advises on how to ‘Keep Well this Winter’

NHS Tayside’s winter health and wellbeing guru, Smarty, is back in Tayside – after his lockdown in the south pole – to his share advice about how to look after your own and your family’s health and wellbeing this winter. 

Smarty has his own dedicated website where he’s offering his advice on a ‘one-stop-shop’ for  for information about how to look after common winter illnesses at home, where to get the right care in the right place for health issues, GP and pharmacy opening times over the festive holidays and tips on staying safe during icy weather. 

Emergency Department consultant Dr Andrew Reddick, who is clinical lead for winter planning, said:  “We have very detailed winter plans which help us respond to the additional pressures of the season but we are also asking the public to play their part by making sure they prepare for winter to hopefully keep themselves well. It’s also very important to follow the guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19 such as hand hygiene, face masks, ventilation, testing and physical distancing where appropriate. 

“As we come into winter, we expect to see an increase in the usual seasonal illnesses such as flu, norovirus, and nasty coughs and colds, as well as COVID-19 which continues to circulate in our communities.   

“These illnesses can usually be managed at home with over the counter medicines so make sure your medicine cabinet is well stocked. In addition to our Keep Well in Winter website, NHS Inform is a great source of help and advice and also has a handy symptom checker along with advice on how to look after yourself at home. Your local pharmacy can also help with a range of minor illnesses. 

This winter, A&E departments will remain open for life-threatening emergencies, however, Tayside is asking that anyone with non-life-threatening emergencies call NHS 24 on 111 to find the approate service.

Local people are also being asked to consider visiting a pharmacy before calling your GP or NHS24 since many ailments do not require you to see a doctor.

Dr Andrew Reddick added: “We always see an increase in injuries from slips and falls during icy periods and GP practices are closed for four days at Christmas and four days at New Year. All of these pressures make winter a very busy time for many of our services, from our Emergency Departments and acute services to out-of-hours, primary care and community teams.  

“It’s important that people are aware of how to access urgent care and where they should go for advice and treatment for different health issues.  

“At weekends and over the festive holidays, anyone with a non-urgent health issue should wait until their GP surgery reopens or contact a local community pharmacy. Having a supply of over the counter medicines is also a good idea so you can manage minor illnesses at home. 

“If you think you need A&E, but it’s not life-threatening, or if you have concerns about coronavirus symptoms, please call NHS 24 on 111, day or night. If it is an emergency, you should call 999 or go to A&E.” 

Associate Director of Public Health Dr Daniel Chandler added, “One of the most important things you can do to support health services over the winter is to get vaccinated when you are eligible so I would encourage everyone to come along and get vaccinated.  

“In Tayside we’ve had a great response to our vaccination programme so far and we will continuing working hard over the coming weeks to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get vaccinated as soon as possible, whether that’s first or second COVID jabs, boosters or flu vaccines.”  

More information can be found on: https://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/YourHealthWellbeing/PROD_310372/index.htm

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