A national health campaign urging people in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde areas to prepare for the winter period was launched today.
A group of children were joined at Glasgow's Snow Factory by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil and NHS 24's Director of Nursing and Care, Sheena Wright, to launch the Be Ready for Winter campaign.
The NHSScotland campaign advises people that by re-stocking their medicine cabinet, checking their repeat prescriptions and knowing when their GP surgery is closed, they can ensure they are well prepared for the winter.
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil said: “This time of year is always very busy, especially for families with young children, and it's easy to forget things like ordering your repeat prescription.
“Just a few simple steps like finding out what services are open and stocking up your medicine cupboard can help prevent winter coughs and colds from spoiling the holiday season. It will also ensure that emergency lifesaving services are kept free for those who really need them.”
This year, GP surgeries will be closed for two days at Christmas (Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th December) and again for two days at New Year (Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd January).
Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), said: “Self-caring during winter can help people to fend off common winter illnesses and enables local health services to provide help where it is most needed.
"Common colds, coughs and seasonal flu can be treated by keeping warm, resting and drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids. Paracetamol and ibuprofen which are available without a prescription can reduce high temperatures and ease aches and pains.
"It’s also worth remembering that a pharmacist can also advise you on which medicines you may need, meaning you don’t have to wait to see a doctor.
"I would particularly encourage everyone eligible to arrange to get their free seasonal flu vaccination. This is the most effective way of protecting yourself from the flu.”
General advice and information on how to stay healthy this winter can be found at www.nhsinform.co.uk/winter or contact NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.
The national Be Ready for Winter campaign is supported by NHSScotland in partnership with NHS 24, the Scottish Ambulance Service and all 14 Scottish Health Boards.
The four key steps that Be Ready for Winter is recommending everyone take in preparation for their health this winter are:
Restock your winter medicine cabinet Many children and adults pick up common winter ailments such as colds or flu-like illnesses. These can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine. Parents are reminded to stock up on over-the-counter remedies suitable for children.
Use your local pharmacy
Your local pharmacy is an accessible resource for you and your family. Your pharmacist can offer advice or help if you have run out of any prescribed medication. You can also collect medicine for minor ailments or illnesses.
Make sure you have repeat prescriptions
If you, or someone you care for, require medicines regularly, check that you have enough and if you need more, remember to order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you or your family have enough medicine to last over the Christmas holiday period. Only order what you need.
Know when your GP surgery will be open
Your local doctor’s surgery will be open on Monday December 24th and will then reopen on Thursday 27th December. This means there are two days when it is closed – Christmas day and Boxing Day.
Doctors Surgeries will follow normal opening hours on Monday 31st December and will then reopen on Thursday 3rd January.
For more information or to request an interview, please contact NHS 24 communications on 0141 337 4501.