Many of us will be enjoying a Christmas tipple this winter (I’ll personally avoid egg nog, but each to their own). But if you or a friend sustained a minor injury, be it a slip, trip or fall, would you know what to do?

Don’t just head straight to A&E while praying for a Christmas miracle. Chances are, you won’t be first in the queue. There are bound to be lots of sick patients with respiratory and other conditions brought on by the colder weather, so those with minor injuries can massively help out just by choosing the right care.

Let’s get back to basics.

By minor conditions and ailments, we mean simple coughs and colds, viral-like conditions if you have a temperature, rashes, sore throats, ear aches, simple injuries to toes, fingers, finger nails, that sort of thing. These can all be managed elsewhere.

So when can I come to A&E?

If you’re in an emergency department, you really ought to have life threatening illness or injuries…

This might include patients suffering from cardiac chest pain, strokes, respiratory problems where breathing has become so bad that you can’t manage, major trauma or accidents where limbs are at threat and any more complex conditions like sepsis.

If you’re well enough to self-present at A&E, stop and think, do I really need emergency, life-saving care? If you do turn up inappropriately, you may be advised to go elsewhere…

Dorset boasts numerous Minor Injuries Units and Urgent Treatment Centres that will be able to help you out in most cases.

What’s more, we are the first county in the south west to introduce the WaitLess app. The app combines live feeds from emergency and urgent departments all across Dorset with travel times based on your current location to help you make an informed choice about where to get treatment for non-emergencies.

Join the 1000 or so other clever-ones out there who are downloading and using the free WaitLess app from the App Store or Google Play every week!

If you simply aren’t sure where to go, don’t panic. Make use of the NHS 111 service either online or over the phone. Answer a few questions about your main symptom and you’ll be pointed in the right direction.