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TOP FESTIVE SURVIVAL GUIDE


TOP FESTIVE SURVIVAL GUIDE

By Michele O'Conner

'TIS the season to be jolly... jolly ill. NHS Direct was used 830,000 times last Christmas. MICHELE O’CONNOR on how to deal with common ailments
1 Abdominal pain
Stomach ache can have a number of causes but at Christmas it could simply be due to overeating.
“Severe pain however should never be ignored,” says Jacqui Jedrzejewski of NHS Direct.
“Seek immediate medical attention if your stomach is tender to touch, you have a high temperature, blood in the stools, urine or vomit, pain that spreads to the back or groin or abdominal pain when urinating.”
2 Toothache
“See your dentist about any niggles before the holiday period,” advises Ben Atkins of the British Dental Association.
“If toothache is relieved by over-the-counter painkillers it can usually wait until your dentist reopens after Christmas. If the pain doesn’t go away with analgesics, swelling occurs or it is a child who has toothache contact NHS Direct (0845 46 47 or visit www.nhsdirect. nhs.uk) for emergency dental services in your area.”
3 Rashes
Rashes are usually caused by an allergic reaction and can generally be relieved using over-the-counter antihistamines or calamine lotion.
“A blotchy red rash that does not fade or change colour when you place a glass against it could signal meningitis – especially if accompanied by vomiting, fever, headache, sensitivity to light, aching muscles or neck pain,” warns Jacqui.
Call 999 immediately.
4 Medicines Enquiries
"Enquiries include those who have run out or missed doses of medicines, whether it’s safe to drink while on medication and those who need emergency contraception,” says Jacqui.
“Most can be answered by the patient information leaflet that came with the medication, your local pharmacist or by visiting www.nhs.uk and searching for your medication or the contraception enquiry checker.”

5 Chest pain
Chest pain is usually caused by indigestion but it can signal a heart attack.
“If it feels as if your chest is being pressed or squeezed by a heavy object and you have other symptoms such as breathlessness, nausea, sweating or pain that spreads to your arm call 999 immediately,” Jacqui advises.
“Paramedics would prefer an honest mistake than to arrive too late to save someone’s life.”

6 Colds And flu
"Avoid catching and spreading colds and flu by using tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, throwing them away immediately and then washing your hands,” says Jacqui.
“If you do develop flu you should rest, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and relieve symptoms by taking paracetamol or ibuprofen.
“You can get further advice from NHS Direct’s colds and flu online health and symptom checker at www. nhs.uk/nhsdirect,” she adds

7 Vomiting and diarrhoea
“This is particularly common over the festive season and caused by norovirus or ‘winter vomiting bug’ and food poisoning.
“Make sure you practise good food hygiene. Never store raw and cooked foods together, keep food properly refrigerated and make sure that all food, especially your turkey, is cooked through,” says Jacqui.
“Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and eat easily digestible foods such as soup, rice and bread.”
Seek medical help if symptoms persist after 48 hours.

8 Depression Or low mood
“Depression, low mood or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are more common in winter due to shorter daylight hours,” says Jacqui.
“Plus, Christmas can be a lonely, overwhelming or expensive time leading to feelings of anxiety, a lack of energy and loss of interest in work and regular activities.
“Counteract these feelings by taking regular exercise particularly outdoors, eating a healthy diet and making your work and home environments as light and bright as possible.

“If you are struggling with these feelings don’t suffer in silence,” she adds. “Talk to your family or friends and contact your GP or NHS Direct.
“Low mood and depression can be successfully treated with the right help and support. Seeking help is the first step.”
 

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