There has been a high volume of calls to the GP Out of Hours Service from people with flu-like symptoms over the Christmas break so as a second long weekend approaches, the NHS Isle of Wight is urging people to stock up with home remedies for flu-like symptoms. This will help health services run smoothly and ensure those with urgent symptoms receive treatment.
The majority of people with flu-like illnesses do not need to ring the Island’s Out of Hours Service. The very old, very young, pregnant women and people with serious chronic conditions are more susceptible to complications from flu and they may require medical attention. People with a high fever need to drink plenty of fluids – especially the young and old – and those with conditions such as asthma and diabetes to consider whether they need a flu vaccination.
If people have flu-like illness they can speak with their community pharmacist who is a qualified expert and can give confidential advice on common minor illnesses like coughs and colds and headaches, as well as advice on the most effective over-the-counter remedies. Extended opening hours (the late opening rota) are advertised in the County Press.
Advice about treating flu-like illness is also available from NHS Direct 24 hours a day by calling 0845 46 47 or by visiting www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk. Qualified nurses can provide free, expert health advice and information.
NHS Isle of Wight’s Director of Public Health, Dr Jenifer Smith, said; “If you have flu like symptoms drink lots of fluids and avoid spreading your cold. We want everyone to have fun and enjoyable New Year’s celebration and this can be achieved if everyone plays a role. Choose well is a simple message; before going to your GP, the Beacon Health Centre or the Emergency Department (A&E) think about whether this is the right choice to make and what other options you might have. This will save time and take a huge amount of pressure off the emergency departments if everyone chooses well.”
Full details of how to choose well, including opening hours for local pharmacies, GP’s and other NHS services across Hampshire, visit www.iow.nhs.uk/choosewell
Choose well: What services do and when to use them
Self care - Make sure your vaccinations, including flu, are up to date. Your GP or pharmacist can advise. Be prepared! Keep your home first aid kit stocked for problems like hangovers, colds and sneezes, sore throats and grazed knees. Items like the following are good to keep to hand:
- Paracetamol and aspirin tablets (aspirin should not be given to children under 16 or people with asthma).
- Paracetamol or ibuprofen syrups for children.
- Mild laxatives to relieve constipation.
- Rehydration mixtures for diarrhoea or vomiting; use if feeling dehydrated.
- Indigestion remedy and travel sickness tablets for family trips.
- Tweezers and sharp scissors.
- Bandages, plasters and dressings.
- Thermometer to check for fever.
For more information visit www.iow.nhs.uk/selfcare.
NHS Direct - advice is available via NHS Direct 24 hours a day by calling 0845 46 47 or visit www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk. NHS Direct provides free expert health advice and information. It is run by qualified nurses.
Pharmacies – visit your local pharmacy for help in treating minor ailments and for general health advice. Many pharmacies have private consultation rooms. Pharmacists are trained to treat minor illness and to tell a minor ailment from something that might be more serious. If you need an over-the-counter medicine, a pharmacist can help you choose which is the best for you and your symptoms. They will also tell you when you need to see your doctor and when you can treat yourself with an over-the counter
medicine. Visit www.iow.nhs.uk/pharmacy for more information.
Emergency Dental Helpline - The Emergency Dental Helpline is available for emergency appointments. Contact them on 0845 050 8345 or visit www.hampshiredentalhelpline.nhs.uk.
GP surgery - if the options above are not appropriate to your condition, you can call your surgery for an appointment with your GP or practice nurse. Your GP can help with vaccinations, prescriptions, medical advice and care. Many surgeries now have extended opening hours. To find your local GP call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit www.iow.nhs.uk/gp or www.nhs.uk. If your surgery is closed you
can call the Island Health Line (out of hours service) on 0845 6031 007 to arrange to see a doctor.
Beacon Health Centre - The Beacon Health Centre at St Mary’s Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week for advice and treatment for minor illnesses or injury. No appointment is needed. More information is available at www.iow.nhs.uk/beacon.
Emergency Department (A&E) – The Emergency Department at St Mary’s Hospital should be attended if a patient experiences chest pain, blacking out and severe blood loss. The Emergency Department is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.