5 ways to self-care so you can enjoy the bank holiday weekend
PUBLISHED: 16:00 19 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:52 19 April 2019
With NHS services expected to face a higher level of demand this Easter weekend, Suffolk GPs have shared some simple steps of how you can look after your family and enjoy the sunny weather.
1. Control hay fever by taking antihistamines before showing symptoms
With the pollen count predicted to increase over the Easter weekend, those who suffer from the allergy are being encouraged to prepare by taking antihistamines early.
Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket, said: “One of the best ways to control hay fever is with antihistamines, which you can buy without prescription from the pharmacy.
“Start taking them now so they can get into your system – as taking them regularly is much more effective than taking them only when your symptoms are bad.”
You don't need to see a GP for a prescription for hay fever medicine, instead by simply visiting a pharmacy you will be saving yourself time and freeing up GP appointments for those with more urgent needs.
2. Protect yourself from hay fever using these tips
There are a number of ways to protect yourself when the pollen count is high this weekend.
Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford, said: “You can help protect yourself from hay fever symptoms by wearing wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes.
“Also taking showers and changing your clothes after being outdoors helps prevent pollen spreading around your home.”
If your hay fever is really flaring up you could stay indoors when the pollen count is high.
In this case Dr Browning advises: “Smearing a small amount of Vaseline inside your nose helps to prevent pollen settling on the inside of your nose.”
3. Drink six to eight cups of fluid each day to prevent dehydration
Families and carers of older people are being encouraged to look out for the signs and symptoms of dehydration this weekend as temperatures are predicted to rise and could increase the risk of falls.
Dr Peter Holloway, a GP in Mendlesham said: “Older people often experience a reduced sensation of thirst, meaning they don't realise they need a drink.
“The recommendation is to drink six to eight cups of fluid each day, which includes fruit juice, tea and coffee, milky drinks and water.”
Dr Holloway also recommends that older people should consider having a drink at specific times during the day, whether or not they feel thirsty, to make sure they don't become dehydrated.
Family members are advised to encourage them to take a drink at regular intervals as it improves mood, stimulates appetite and reduces restlessness.
4. Keep some basic medicines at home – along with any repeat prescriptions
The Easter holidays are a busy time for the NHS and many GP surgery's will be closed on both Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket, said: ”One of the best things you can do is to ensure you keep some basic medicines at home so you have them available when unexpected minor illness or injury occurs.
“I would encourage everyone to have at hand the medicine cabinet essentials including paracetamol, sticking plasters, indigestion remedy and anti-diarrhoeal medicine.”
It is also important to have enough repeat medicine to last over the holidays as it takes 48 hours for most GP surgeries to process a repeat prescription.”
Pharmacies however are a great source of help and advice and the pharmacist could offer you over-the-counter medicine that will help you get better.
5. Call NHS 111 if you feel unwell
Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford, said: “If you feel unwell over the Easter weekend the NHS 111 service is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – it never closes.
“By calling the freephone number you will speak to a trained advisor, be given an assessment and advice and directed to the most appropriate service for your needs. You can also access the NHS 111 service online.”