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Get ready for Easter, be prepared and stay healthy

With minor ailments such as coughs and colds still common during Easter, just a few simple steps can help everyone to look after their health this month.

By knowing when your GP surgery is open, re-stocking your medicine cabinet and making sure you order any repeat prescriptions you need, not just for yourself but those you look after, ahead of Easter, people can ensure they make the most of the holiday weekend.

The four key steps that doctors recommend this Easter are:

Know when your GP surgery will be open — your local doctor’s surgery may be closed for four days during the Easter weekend, from Good Friday 25 March to Easter Monday 28 March.

Use your local pharmacy -  your pharmacist can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints, without having to wait for a GP appointment or go to A&E. First aid treatments for minor accidents such as plasters and antiseptic creams can also be obtained from the pharmacy.

You can check the opening times of your nearest pharmacy on the CCG websites at:

Blackburn with Darwen — http://www.blackburnwithdarwenccg.nhs.uk/blackburn-darwen-pharmacy-easter-opening-times/

East Lancashire — http://www.eastlancsccg.nhs.uk/2016/03/09/east-lancashire-pharmacy-opening-times-easter/

Restock your medicine cabinet — A range of common illnesses and complaints, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs and aches and pains can be treated with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest.  A well-stocked medicine cabinet should contain:

  • Painkillers such as paractemol and ibuprofen -  these can also help with some minor ailments, such as the common cold, by reducing aches, pain and high temperatures
  • Bandages and plasters
  • Antihistamines — these are useful for dealing with allergies and insect bites and calm minor allergic reactions to food. They can also help reduce itchiness during chickenpox
  • Indigestion treatment — if you have stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind, a simple antacid will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief
  • Anti-diarrhoea tablets — diarrhoea is caused by a range of things, such as food poisoning or a stomach virus, and can happen without warning. Anti-diarrhoeal remedies can quickly control the unpleasant symptoms of diarrhoea, although they don’t deal with the underlying cause
  • Oral rehydration salts — fever, diarrhoea and vomiting make us lose water and essential minerals, and can lead to dehydration.

Make sure you have enough repeat prescription — if you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you have enough medicine to last over the holiday period.

If yourequire help and advice for a non 999 emergency you can also call NHS 111. This is a free service, available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It offers help and advice for when it’s not a 999 emergency such as:

  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you are unsure which health service you need
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

A fully trained adviser, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics, will be able to provide any advice you need or direct you to the local service that can best help you.