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Your health this Christmas

Many of us are preparing for Christmas – making lists, going shopping and organising festivities. But it is also important to make preparations for looking after your health this holiday season.

It may be a time of celebration, but it's also a peak time for nasty bugs and infections. If you want to enjoy the festivities, here are a few tips to help make sure being unwell doesn't spoil your fun too much.  

If you take prescribed medication regularly, make sure you have enough supplies to last over the holiday time and get requests for repeat prescriptions into your GP as soon as possible.

It is a good idea to check your medicine cabinet before the holidays start and make sure it is fully stocked.  

Make sure medicines are kept in the right conditions and out of reach of young children, and check sell-by dates. Do not take any medicines which have expired.

The best place to start for health care advice or remedies is a local pharmacy. They stock a range of over the counter medicines for self care and can advise on the best treatment for symptoms of winter illnesses and other common conditions. Remember, in most cases a GP will not prescribe antibiotics for common winter illnesses such as coughs and colds.

Pharmacies are open every day over the holidays, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

There is no specific cure for sickness or diarrhoea bugs – these are best treated by drinking lots of water, taking paracetamol, washing hands regularly and staying indoors for two days after symptoms have cleared, to avoid spread.

If you do need to see a GP over Christmas, appointments are available in Lambeth including weekends and evenings. Contact your surgery as normal.

If you need care urgently, call NHS 111. Please choose wisely and remember that Accident and Emergency Departments are for life-threatening conditions and serious illnesses and injuries.