HEALTH chiefs have urged patients to make sure medicine cabinets are well stocked for Christmas.
Experts at NHS Yorkshire and the Humber said pick up your repeat prescriptions and stock up on medicines for over the festive and new year period.
Some GP practices and pharmacies will open over Christmas and New Year but many will be closed so make sure all medication is at home - including for minor injuries and common illnesses such as coughs, sneezes and stomach upsets.
Paul Johnstone, director for public health for NHS North of England, said: “Prevention is always better than cure, so by making sure you have everything you need ahead of the festive period you will give yourself the best chance of staying out of hospital.
“There are a number of different things people can do to manage whatever condition they may be living with.
“For example, making sure you collect your repeat prescription in good time will mean you’re well equipped for the Christmas break. Stocking up on medicine cabinet essentials like plasters, antiseptic cream, paracetamol and indigestion remedies will ensure you’re prepared to treat minor illnesses and injuries.
“During that last-minute Christmas shopping why not call in at your local pharmacy and pick up a few extras – your pharmacist will be able to advise you on what you need.”
He offered advice on the right courses of treatment for illnesses, such as:
l Hangover, sore throat or cough - self care is the best choice when treating very minor illnesses and injuries.
l Unwell or unsure - call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or log on to www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.
l Diarrhoea, runny nose, painful cough or headache - visit your local pharmacy.
l Vomiting, ear pain, stomach ache or back ache - see a GP.
l Cuts, rashes or strains - visit an NHS walk-in centre or minor injuries unit.
l Choking, chest pain, severe bleeding or blacking out - go to A&E or call 999.