With another bank holiday just around the corner, East Staffordshire residents and visitors are urged to stay well and be prepared.
Health bosses in East Staffordshire want people to make the most of the bank holiday weekend by knowing what to do if you pick up a minor illness or injury and choosing the right care so you don’t have to wait in queues or attend appointments you don’t really need. This includes ensuring you have enough medication to get you through the long weekend, ordering repeat prescriptions ahead of schedule and knowing the opening times of your nearest pharmacy and other local NHS services.
Dr Charles Pidsley, from East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We want people to make the most of the bank holiday and spells of good weather this summer, but we also want to ensure people are prepared to look after themselves and know where to go if they do have a health need over the weekend.
“If you are unlucky enough to need medical advice when your surgery is closed – ask your community pharmacist or ring NHS 111. Calls to 111 are free from mobiles or landlines and provides help and advice 24hours a day. If you need to see a health professional the 111 service will be able to give you an appointment.
Local residents are also being reminded of the alternatives to a visit to the Emergency Department over the Bank Holiday weekend. The department is only for serious injuries or illnesses – and people who turn up there with minor injuries may end up waiting a long time while staff attend urgent patients.
- Telephone NHS 111
- Seek advice from your local pharmacy. For more information on local health services, visit the NHS Choices website.
Here is a list of the most common minor conditions which can affect us over the summer months and the best way to tackle them:
1 – Cuts and grazes
You need to clean the wound and cover it with a plaster or dressing:
- To stop bleeding, apply pressure with a bandage or towel and raise the part of the body
- If you’re treating someone else, wash and dry your hands, then clean the wound with running water
- Dry the wound and apply a waterproof plaster
- Don’t use antiseptic cream as it may slow down the healing process.
- Paracetamol or Ibuprofen should help easy any pain
2 – Sprains and Strains
If you or your child has a strain or sprain, think PRICE:
- Protect the injury by
- Resting the area for at least 48 hours
- Ice packs should be used on the first day of getting the injury for 20 minutes, up to eight times
- Compress with a bandage
- Elevating the injury for an hour or so will also help the recovery and decrease the swelling
3 – Insect Stings
Although they may be itchy and painful for a few days, most stings are harmless.
- Carefully remove the sting
- Wash the area with soap and water
- Cool the affected area down with a cold flannel, or an ice pack
- Raise the wound up to stop swelling
- Avoid scratching the area as it may get infected
- Antihistamine tablets, sprays or creams should also help ease symptoms.
Step 4 – Hay fever
One in five people are affected by this common allergic reaction at some point in their lives.
- Use over-the-counter medication like antihistamines when you first notice symptoms, or the pollen count is forecast to be high
- Decongestant nasal sprays will help clear a blocked nose
- Eye drops will help ease red, itchy and watery eyes
- Your local pharmacist will be able to help
Step 5– Sun Burn and Prickly Heat
Prevention is always better than cure, so slap on the sun cream, even if it’s overcast.
If you do still get burned:
- Cool the skin with lukewarm water, the best way is in a cool bath or shower
- Get rehydrated, drink plenty of fluids
- Aftersun cream will also cool the skin, but also moisturize it and relieve any tightness
- Paracetamol or Ibuprofen should help easy any pain.
Prickly heat is usually caused when we sweat more than usual:
- Stay in the shade
- Wear loose, cotton clothing
- Calamine lotion will soothe the affected area
Step 6– Sickness and Diarrhoea
Most sickness and diarrhea will usually clear up, without treatment, after a few days.
There are a few things you can do to ease the symptoms:
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Frequent small sips of water is usually the best
- A pharmacist may suggest an oral rehydration solution
- You should try and eat something small and light when you feel able to
- Antidiarrheal medicines are available, but not usually necessary
Step 7– Know where to get further advice
If you’ve followed the above steps but symptoms are continuing or getting worse, then get further medical advice
- Get advice on non-urgent medical problems by calling NHS111, which is open 24/7 and free from any mobile or landline
- Local pharmacies are available, free of charge and without an appointment to give advice on minor conditions and the best over-the-counter medications. Find you nearest pharmacy here www.nhs.uk.
For useful information on symptoms and treatments, visit the NHS Choices website.