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.
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 (including over 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 should 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.
Speak to A Local Pharmacist
Pharmacists can 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 a range of common conditions without a prescription. These include urine infections, conjunctivitis, skin conditions (such as eczema, dermatitis and reactions to insect bites) skin infections (such as cellulitis and impetigo) and vaginal thrush.
For more information read the Pharmacy First leaflet. 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.
- For details of local pharmacy opening times over the festive period see the Pharmacy Holiday Rota.
Know When Your GP Practice is Open
GP practices will only be closed for a few days at Christmas ( Mon 25th and Tues 26th Dec) and a few days at New Year (Mon 1st and Tues 2nd Jan). If you need help that can’t wait until your GP reopens, or you can’t get to a pharmacy, you should call NHS 24 on 111 or visit www.nhsinform.scot
Remember GP practices in Forth Valley which are normally open for extended hours will continue to operate during these hours on the Tues, Wed and Thurs after Christmas and New Year. For more details see the attached list.
Advice line for Older People (ALFY) – 01324 567247
A round-the-clock advice line known as ALFY (Advice Line For You), is available to everyone aged 65 or over as well as family members and other people who care for them. The line (01324 567247) is operated by experienced community nurses who will listen to any concerns and make sure callers receive the right help and support to avoid the need for admission to hospital. This could range from:
- Providing general health advice and reassurance
- Arranging a nurse assessment and organising a home visit day or night, if necessary
- Organising certain equipment to be provided to support people at home, if required
- Providing access to general or specialist medical advice or review, if appropriate
- Arranging a referral to the Community ReACH Service (Rehabilitation Service)
- Arranging the necessary advice, treatment and support to help people remain well at home
- Prioritising access to social care services, if required
- Signposting to voluntary organisations and other locally based services
Stay Well This Winter
Get the Flu Vaccine
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.