Whilst people are out busily shopping for stocking fillers, West Midlands Ambulance Service is urging the public to think about filling their medicine cabinet too.
Ensuring you have a few essential medical supplies this festive season could mean avoiding an unnecessary trip to A&E or the need to dial 999.
Unfortunately, every winter, colds, flu, stomach bugs and other ailments are all too common. Ideally everyone should be checking their medicine cabinets, discarding of any out-of-date stock and replacing them with items such as painkillers, cold and flu remedies, indigestion relief, bandages and plasters, a thermometer and a good stock of tissues.
For those who require regular prescription medication, it is vital that you ensure that you have supplies to last throughout the holidays. Don’t leave it too late to check; at the moment there is still time to make an appointment with your doctor and order a repeat prescription, if required.
West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Medical Director, Dr Andy Carson, said: “Please make sure that while you’re out shopping, you pick up the medical essentials that will help you get through the Christmas period.
“Having the essentials means that the vast majority of people will be able to treat themself for their pre-existing condition or minor illnesses at home, avoiding trips to A&E or dialling 999. However, it is always important that you read the label before taking any kind of medicines.
“The last thing we want is more cases of people’s celebrations being disturbed or even ruined by a medical emergency which could have been prevented with some simple pre-planning.
“If you have a condition that means you do use the Health Service regularly, please also take a moment to find out the opening times of your GP during the festive season and what their out of hours provision is, just in case.”
If you are travelling away for the Christmas holidays, don’t forget to pack any prescription medications. If you do forget, please seek help and advice from a pharmacist, as soon as possible. Members of the public can also get general advice about medication from their local pharmacy too.
If you do unfortunately find yourself unwell over the festive season please think about the service you need; do you have a life threatening emergency or could you use a walk-in centre or visit a minor injuries unit?