Christmas Day: On the first day of Christmas, my injury will be, a burn from the Christmas turkey

A burn is caused by dry heat, for example, by an iron or fire. A scald is caused by something wet such as hot water or steam; both are treated in the same way.

Burns may cause:

  • Red or peeling skin
  • Blisters
  • Swelling
  • White or charred skin

If you or someone you know gets burnt, get the person away from the heat source and cool the burn using cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes.

More information can be found on the NHS Choices website.

Boxing Day: On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a nasty case of D&V

Diarrhoea and vomiting is often caused by Norovirus – one of the most common bugs in the UK, otherwise known as the “winter vomiting bug”.

To prevent the spread of Norovirus it is important that you do not go to hospital or visit a GP as a patient or visitor if you have symptoms or have suffered an episode of diarrhoea or vomiting in the last 48 hours.

You can usually look after yourself or your child at home, and the virus will clear up by itself in a few days. Push fluids, have plenty of rest and take paracetamol to help with the fever, aches and pains.

More information about symptoms and treatments is available on the NHS Choices website.

On the third day of Christmas the kids went out to play, a sprained ankle and a grazed knee

Falls and trips on the ice can be painful, not to mention damaging if you break a bone. But you don’t have to go straight to your nearest accident and emergency department for help.

If you call 111 you can get advice on what your best course of action might be, depending on your condition. It may be that an ice pack, painkillers and rest might do the trick, or you may be referred to the out-of-hours GP service.

In a real emergency you may be advised to attend A&E.

On the fourth day of Christmas Gran's coming to stay, tidy all the toys away

Tripping over children's toys is a common cause of falls in the elderly

Falls are a common cause of injury in the elderly. Approximately one in three adults over 65 living at home will have at least one fall a year – around half of those will have more frequent falls.

Although they don’t usually result in serious injury, there is always a risk that a fall can lead to broken bones, a loss of confidence or the feeling of lost independence.

If you are expecting a full house or an elderly relative over the Christmas period, there are a number of precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of a fall:

  • Make sure all floors are not slippery i.e. wet or polished
  • Avoid dim lighting in rooms
  • Make sure rugs and carpets are properly secured
  • Check supplies are easily accessible to avoid reaching into difficult areas
  • Keep children's toys out of walkways and seating areas.

Another common cause of falls, particularly for older men, is falling from a ladder during home maintenance work – take care moving the Christmas decorations in and out.

More information can be found on the NHS Choices website

It's the fifth day of Christmas, and i'm still trying to be, smoooooke free!

If you smoke, giving up is probably the greatest single step you can take to improve your health.

Smoking is responsible for one in every five deaths in adults aged over 35 in England, and half of all long-term smokers will die prematurely due to a smoking-related disease.

Giving up smoking increases your chances of living a longer and healthier life. 

If you want to quit smoking, it's is a good idea to see your GP. They can provide help and advice about quitting, and refer you to a quitting support service (Quit4Life in Hampshire, Quit51 in Surrey). These services offer the best support for people who want to give up smoking.

Studies show that you are four times more likely to quit smoking if you do it through the NHS. For more information, call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline on 0300 123 1014 

More information is available on the NHS Choices website.

On the sixth day of Christmas, I’ve run out of pills, take a box to the pharmacy

No prescription, GP shut? Your local pharmacy may be able to help - take an old box along

If you find yourself short on medicines supplies outside of normal opening hours, there are a number of ways that you can access medicine quickly – even if you’re away from home.

If you already have a prescription: 

  • Visit a local pharmacy – many will be open until the early hours of the morning. But please be aware, opening times may change over the Christmas period. Opening times for pharmacies in the local area can be found here.
  • For urgent cases or if you would prefer to speak to someone first, call NHS 111 free of charge on your mobile or landline. The trained advisors will direct you to the correct care in the area you are in.
  • In urgent cases, try contacting your GP practice who should be able to provide out-of-hours details on the answering machines.

 If you do not have a prescription:

If you run out of medicine but do not have your prescription with you, visit your local pharmacy and take along your medicines packaging with you.

 The Pharmacist may interview you to find out the following:

  • If there is an immediate need for the medicine
  • If it is practical to obtain a prescription in the circumstances without undue delay 
  • If the medicine has, on a previous occasion, been prescribed by a prescriber 
  • The dose of medicine that is appropriate for the person to take.

 Please be aware that if the Pharmacist is not satisfied that the medicine and dose is appropriate for you, they may not supply it.

 A charge will be made for the medicines supplied and for the service provided. This may vary between pharmacies.

Tip: If you use prescription medicines, always keep a record of your current prescription medicines, as set out in your usual prescription form.

More information is available on the NHS Choices website.

On the seventh day of Christmas I'll drink responsibly, six units is enough for me

Too much alcohol can severely damage your health

Binge drinking refers to drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short space of time – usually with the aim to get drunk.

Men and women are advised to drink no more than 14 units a week spread out over three or more days if you regularly drink. Binge drinking is described, for men, as consuming more than eight units of alcohol in one session, and for women, more than six units.

One unit of alcohol is around 10 ml of pure alcohol – this is the amount of alcohol the average adult can process in an hour. Try the One You alcohol checker to find out how much you consume each week.

To reduce your health risk from single occasion drinking there are a number of things you can do:

  • Limit how much you drink on a single occasion
  • Drink slowly
  • Drink with food
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or non-alcoholic drinks
  • Plan ahead – make sure you can get home safely or stay with people you trust.

For local services that can help you, click here.

You can find out more on the NHS Choices website.

On the eighth day of Christmas and it's a holiday, the pharmacy is open to help

Don't forget - Pharmacy opening hours may change over the holidays

Pharmacists are often underused and underrated. Your local Pharmacist can offer a range of health services that you may not be aware of. These include:

  • Access to smoking, sexual health and alcohol support services
  • Advice on the safe use of medicines
  • Repeat prescriptions
  • Medicines Use Review
  • Treatment for a number of common conditions.

Pharmacists are there to help you look after yourself and have a healthier lifestyle and most of us are within a short car ride or walk of this service. Find your local opening times here.

You can find out more about the services your Pharmacy can offer here.

On the ninth day of Christmas, if I had an injury, I would know who to see...

When you are feeling unwell, choosing the right service means you and your family will get the best treatment but also allows busy NHS services to help the people that need them most.

Self-Care

There are a number of common ailments that can be treated in the comfort of your own home - you could save yourself a trip to the GP. Conditions that can be treated with self-care include migraines, coughs, sprains and strains, and backpain. Visit NHS Choices for more information and guidance.

Pharmacy

Your local pharmacist will be able to help with a number of minor illnesses, they can also give advice on cutting down smoking, alcohol, and sexual health.

Many pharmacies are open until late and weekends, you don't need an appointment - just walk in. Many also have private consultation rooms for you to discuss your healthcare needs confidentially. Click here for a full list of pharmacy opening hours over the holiday period.

NHS 111

111 is the NHS non-emergency number. If you need urgent medical advice but it's not a life-threatening emergency, call this number and the trained advisers will direct you to the most appropriate service. You can also call for health advice or if you don't have a GP.

111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Emergency Department

Calling 999 or visiting the A&E should be reserved for serious or life-threatening emergencies. This includes conditions such as breathing difficulties, persistent and heavy bleeding, severe chest pain or loss of consciousness.

More information here.

On the tenth day of Christmas my weight's bothering me, time to get fit and feel healthy

A Healthy Diet

If people are overweight, it is usually because they are consuming more calories than they need. The NHS Choices 12-week guide can help you to develop healthier eating habits, be more active and get on track to start losing weight.

This plan can help you to lose weight at a safe and sustainable rate of 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lbs) a week. For most men, this will mean consuming no more than 1,900kcal a day, and for women, 1,400kcal a day.

Some patients will be entitled to 12 weeks dieting support from weight watchers, visit the website for more details.

Get active

Fitting some physical activity into your day is easier than you think, did you know that a brisk walk of 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and some cancers.

Moving more is good for your body and mind, it can make a huge difference to your quality of life and help you sleep better. To get you started why not try the One You couch to 5k.

For more information and support click here.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my GP gave to me, some help with anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear – this can be mild or severe.

Most people tend to have feelings of anxiety at some point in their lives, for example, when sitting exams or going for a job interview. However, some people find it hard to control their worries which can often affect their daily lives.

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) causes you to feel anxious about a range of issues rather than just one event. People with the condition feel anxious most days and struggle to remember when they last felt relaxed.

If you are suffering from anxiety and it is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, it’s probably time to talk to somebody. In North East Hampshire and Farnham there are a number of options:

You can find out more about local services here or on NHS Choices.

On the twelfth day of Christmas I'm feeling quite run down, I need rest and some TLC

If you’re feeling overworked or under the weather, you can usually treat this in the comfort of your own home.

For many minor ailments, you can get advice from your local pharmacist for over the counter medicines or self-care aids – saving yourself a trip to the GP. See NHS Choices for a list of various minor ailments and how to self-care for each one. You can also access the Self Care Forum fact sheets here.

Stress

Stress can be caused by many things including work, relationships and money. This can affect how you feel, think, behave and how your body works – in the long term, this can put your health at risk.

Although there is no quick-fix cure for stress, there are a number of things you can do to help you stress less. Remember, you don’t have to suffer alone; a good place to start is speaking to your GP. Make time to do something you enjoy every day and try to stay active – being physical releases endorphins which will help to improve your mood.

Make sure you wind down properly and give yourself a regular sleep pattern – take control of your worries and create a relaxing environment. A good night’s sleep will help you to de-stress and concentrate during the day.

Find out more at OneYou.

For more local information and advice, click here.

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