Be Health-Wise This Winter
Winter is a very busy time for the NHS however, you can help take the pressure off hospital and emergency services by taking a few simple steps to help avoid becoming ill and making use of your local pharmacy and minor injuries services.
Use our Know Who to Turn To section to find out who you should be seeking advice from when you are ill.
Listen to the Winter Services Advert
Minor Injuries Unit – Open 7 Days (9am – 9pm)
The Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Stirling Community Hospital offers treatment to patients across Forth Valley, including those from Clackmannanshire and Falkirk. It is open every day throughout the festive period from 9am – 9pm and no appointment is necessary. The MIU is able to treat adults and children over the age of one for a wide range of minor injuries including suspected broken bones, sprains and strains, cuts and scratches, minor burns and infected wounds. Children with minor injuries under the age of one and adults with more serious injuries or illnesses can attend the Emergency Department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. If you are unsure about where to go for advice or treatment see our local Know Who to Turn To guide or contact NHS 24 free on 111.
Listen to the MIU Advert
Speak to A Local Pharmacist
A number of pharmacies in Forth Valley will be open on a rota system during the festive holiday period to ensure that local people can access medicines and talk to a pharmacist for health advice. Pharmacists can also provide advice and treatment for many common winter illnesses including coughs, colds, sore throats and upset stomachs. If you run out of your usual medicines or dressings your pharmacist may also be able to arrange an urgent supply.
In addition, pharmacists across Forth Valley are now able to provide free treatment for urinary infections and impetigo (a common skin condition) without a prescription. Some patients can also receive free treatment for a number of minor ailments including cold sores, mouth ulcers, eczema and haemorrhoids (piles). Local pharmacies also offer a range of health services including support to stop smoking and emergency contraception.
Stay Well This Winter
If you or someone you care about is in one of ‘at risk’ groups for flu then contact your GP for a free flu jab. GPs are offering free flu vaccines to everyone currently aged 65 and over. Vaccines are also free for anyone who has a chronic illness such as heart disease and asthma, chronic renal and liver disease and those with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Pregnant women, carers and children aged between 2 and 11 are also eligible for a free vaccination (children are offered the vaccine in the form of a nasal spray).
Remember flu is much more than a bad cold and in the most serious cases it can even lead to pneumonia which can result in death. The vaccine doesn’t contain a ‘live’ virus so it is impossible for you to catch flu as a result of getting the jab. It will also help protect you against swine flu, as well as the strains of flu circulating this winter.
Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is also very common in winter months. So, another key step in looking after your health this winter is to avoid visiting anyone in hospital if you feel unwell. If you have diarrhoea and vomiting wait at least 48 hours after these symptoms have stopped before visiting. View this quick information guide on what to do if you have Norovirus.
General advice and information on how to stay well this winter can be found at www.nhsinform.scot or contact NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.
Open Up When Your Feeling Down
The festive holiday period can be a stressful time of year and the cold, dark, winter nights can also make us feel a bit down. If you are feeling anxious, depressed or stressed then you might find it helpful to talk to someone. You can contact Breathing Space free on 0800 83 85 87 (6.00pm to 2.00am Mon – Fri and 6pm – 6am at weekends), the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or NHS 24 on 111.
Over 65 and want help to stay healthy at home? Call ALFY
A new service, supported by NHS Forth Valley and our three council partners, has been introduced to help older people to remain well at home.
ALFY (Advice Line For You) is a local health advice line for local people aged 65 or over and their families. It is operated by experienced nurses who are able to listen to callers’ concerns, and make sure they receive the right help and support. This could range from offering general reassurance and advice on a wide range of health issues, to signposting callers to relevant emergency social work, voluntary or local services. Staff are also able to book appointments to attend a rapid access frailty clinic at Forth Valley Royal Hospital for tests or assessments or arrange for a community nurse to visit an older person at home, day or night, if required.
The service can be accessed 24hrs, 7 days a week by calling 01324 567247 and is provided in partnership with Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils.
Find out more and watch the video about ALFY.