As the weather gets chillier, people tend to get sicker. This inevitably puts a lot of additional pressure on GP practices. You can help support your NHS by considering the following information, all provided by GPs working in Dorset…

  1. If you’re able to get the flub jab, do it.

Don’t listen to any myths. The flu jab will not give you flu. If you’ve had the jab before, this doesn’t mean you’re already protected because strands of flu change etc. etc. Certain at-risk groups are entitled to free vaccinations on the NHS. Take a look and see if you’re eligible.

If you do have flu, rest, keep warm, drink plenty and take a pain killer to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains. All the advice you need is here >

  1. Got norovirus? Stay away!

Another winter treat comes in the form of norovirus, the famous vomiting bug. Should you be so unlucky, do not inflict your misery on others. If you sit in a GP waiting room or heaven-forbid, A&E, instead of spreading Christmas cheer, you’ll likely spread the virus to everyone else sat near to you.

Stay away from work, college or school until you’re free of symptoms for 2 days. Stay hydrated and send someone to the pharmacy for over-the-counter remedies to help you through.

  1. Don’t go to your GP for medicines you can buy.

You must have heard that the NHS is under pressure. You can buy medicines to treat lots of minor illnesses at pharmacies and supermarkets. We’re talking sore throats, cold sores, conjunctivitis, congestion, coughs, mild cystitis, diarrhoea, indigestion, heartburn, dry skin, headaches etc. etc.

If you get medicines for these minor illnesses on prescription, it costs the NHS a lot of money. By cutting down on these costs, the NHS can spend money more effectively.

  1. Trust us, overusing antibiotics isn’t the way forward.

Antibiotics only work on illnesses caused by bacteria. They won’t help with flu, coughs or colds and giving antibiotics to people who don’t need them is the worst thing you can do. It won’t make you feel any better but it will create antibiotic resistance and SUPERBUGS!

  1. Be prepared for winter closures.

You might be going away over the Christmas holiday. If so, get your prescriptions early and allow plenty of time so your pharmacist can cope with extra demand.

If you’re poorly during the winter closures, use NHS 111, either online or over the phone, to get advice on the most appropriate service for your health needs. If you need an out of hours’ GP appointment and can’t go to your usual practice, trained advisers will be able to help.

  1. Look out for elderly family members and neighbours

People often discover that older family members are sick when they visit over the holiday period. Some of us are less able to look after ourselves, so find your festive spirit and check in now and then throughout the winter so we can treat illnesses early before they get more serious.

Stay well Dorset!