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Are you prepared for the bank holiday?

User AvatarPosted by Rob Hustwayte at 23/08/2016 09:55:10

The NHS is asking patients in Thanet to get ready for the bank holiday weekend by checking they have enough medicine to last and downloading Health Help Now to their smartphones.

GP surgeries and many pharmacies will be closed on Monday 29 August, but by taking a few simple steps, patients can avoid an unnecessary trip to A&E departments, which are likely to be busy.

Dr Tony Martin, chair of NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Please be aware that you may not need to go to A&E for gardening accidents, DIY injuries or sporting mishaps, or for hay fever, insect bites and sunburn.

“It is important to use the right service for your condition. If you are unsure what you need to do, and it is clearly not life threatening, then please use Health Help Now or phone 111.

“Only the most serious injuries and illnesses need to be treated at A&E, so we are urging people to be aware of the services available over the bank holiday, and to be prepared. If you take regular prescribed medicine, please make sure you have enough to last until well after the bank holiday.”

Patients can find out which pharmacists will be open by using Health Help Now. Pharmacists provide expert, free, confidential advice on health issues such as coughs, diarrhoea, hay fever, headache, mild eczema, sunburn, sprains and strains. You can simply turn up and ask for advice with no prior appointment.

Health Help Now is available on the web at www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net or it can be downloaded from the Google Play and the App Store. It was launched by the NHS in Kent and Medway to help people find the right treatment for health problems, especially when they are not sure what to do or who to contact. It has been used more than 120,000 times.

It has lots of local information and can guide people to the service that will be best able to deal with your symptoms: such as minor injury units or the non-emergency NHS number, 111. It also shows when services, such as pharmacies are open or closed – which is invaluable on bank holidays. There’s also advice and helpline details for people who are feeling low or experiencing emergency dental problems.

The downloadable version features a health wallet, where users can make notes about symptoms or questions they may need to ask a GP, keep a list of health appointments and contacts, save favourite pages from Health Help Now and view other useful apps.

If you don’t have Internet access or a smartphone, phone 111 for urgent health advice 24 hours a day.

At this time of year, a well-stocked medicine cabinet should include:

• Painkillers (paracetamol and ibuprofen – including child versions if you have children under 12) 
• Thermometer 
• Plasters, bandages and sticking tape 
• Antiseptic cream 
• Sunscreen 
• Rehydration salts 
• Indigestion treatments 
• Antihistamines (such as hay fever tablets and insect bite creams).

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