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Southerners urged to be prepared for summer

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WellSouth Medical Director Stephen Graham says by planning ahead and taking a few simple steps will mean we’re all ready for summer.

“Being able to treat minor ailments at home, and knowing the best place to seek advice is really important to ensure we all have a well-earned and stress-free break.”

“Simple things like making sure we order prescriptions in good time, take our medication with us on holiday and have a well-stocked medical cabinet to treat minor ailments can make all the difference.”

Southern DHB Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nigel Millar says it’s important to know the best place to seek help if you’re unwell. Many people don’t realise a pharmacy can help with minor ailments. HealthLine is also available 24 hours a day and is free and they will be able to advise if you need to see your doctor or go to the Emergency Department.”

There has been an unusually high level of pressure across the southern health system in recent weeks with emergency departments experiencing a level of demand that is virtually unprecedented for this time of year. General practices also report being extremely busy.

“Due to this demand it’s important the public are prepared and know where to get the right care in the right place at the right time,” says Dr Millar.

 Tips for keeping well over the holidays

With the Christmas and New Year holiday period fast approaching, Southern DHB and WellSouth are asking people to plan ahead to stay well.

Here are some top tips which can treat a number of everyday illnesses:

  • Be prepared – don’t forget to order your regular prescriptions in advance and make sure you collect enough medication to last throughout the festive period
  • Remember to take your prescribed medication with you if you are visiting family or friends
  • If you need an urgent prescription because you have run out of your normal prescribed medicines, most community pharmacies can help
  • Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home, with medicines such as
    • Ibuprofen
    • Paracetamol
    • Indigestion relief
    • Allergy relief medicines (antihistamines)
    • Oral rehydration salts
    • Diarrhoea relief
    • Plasters
    • Bite and sting cream
  • Take early action – seek advice from your local pharmacy, HealthLine or your GP if you have a long term health condition and are starting to feel unwell before it gets more serious.

If you do find yourself unwell, and are not sure where to seek help, here are a few useful resources:

  • Community pharmacies are a great first port of call for minor ailments and they can advise on whether another service is needed
  • Health Line is available on 0800 611 116 for free 24 hour 7 day a week free health advice
  • Call your GP for advice if you condition gets worse
  • In a mental health emergency, call 0800 46 78 46
  • Need to talk? To connect with a professional counsellor for free, call or text 1737
  • If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, stay home, or in your accommodation if you are visiting the district and get tested. Call your GP or the southern designated  number - 0800 VIRUS19 (0800 847 8719) to get tested for free
  • Health Navigator website provides reliable, trustworthy information and self-care resources regarding medications, procedures and health conditions or concerns
  • If your condition is getting worse, see your GP. Discussing small issues early can help stop them becoming a bigger problem later.