Dr Fitz gives his top tips on staying healthy this Christmas

Christmas is a busy time for everyone and we all want to be on top form to enjoy the festivities. With celebrations well underway, here is some advice from Dr Paul Fitzsimmons, deputy medical director at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, on how you can help yourself stay healthy this winter, and help the NHS.

“We want everyone to enjoy the festivities around Christmas and New Year; however we also want to make sure people are looking after themselves and their loved ones to avoid unnecessary hospital admission.

“If you are not experiencing a serious illness or injury, then you can also get help from the likes of your GP, with appointments which are now available at evening and weekends, walk in centres, pharmacies or speak to NHS 111 for advice.

“There are lots of ways that you can enjoy the Christmas season safely and look after your health, making sure that you end up in your own comfortable bed rather than one in hospital.”

Planning a Christmas night out? Here are some handy tips on how to party without the hangover:

  • Try to avoid drinking on an empty stomach - have a meal that includes carbohydrates (such as pasta or rice) or fats. This will help slow down the body's absorption of alcohol
  • If you can, drink water or non-fizzy soft drinks alongside alcoholic drinks
  • Stick together with your friends and make sure that no-one is left on their own
  • By taking drugs you may end up putting yourself in a vulnerable or dangerous situation. If you have taken any and want support and advice, you can call Frank on 0300 123 6600, 24 hours a day.

If a person is unconscious but is breathing and has no other life-threatening conditions, they should be placed in the recovery position to keep their airway clear and open to avoid choking on vomit/fluid. If you are seriously ill as a result of taking drugs, please seek emergency help.

It’s always nice to check in on elderly neighbours or family members during the festive period. Christmas can sometimes be a lonely time for those who have lost loved ones or find themselves alone now that family have moved away.

If you can, check in and see if they need assistance with any groceries or prescriptions, and that they’re safe and warm enough in their homes. When it’s cold and icy outside they may appreciate that extra helping hand so they don’t risk slips or falls. If you're worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1602 (8am-7pm every day).

 

Make sure you have stocked up on your repeat prescriptions or medication during weekends and over the bank holidays. Over the Christmas period there are a number of occasions when doctor surgeries and pharmacies will be closed. Try to ensure you have collected your prescriptions ahead of time so that you can continue to take your medication as required. You don’t want to end up in A&E ill when you could be enjoying a cosy night in on the couch. Find out pharmacy opening times here.

It’s also handy to have a first aid kit in the house in the event of a minor accident or injury. A basic first aid kit may contain:

  • Various sized plasters, sterile gauze dressings and bandages
  • Safety pins
  • Tweezer and scissors
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • Antiseptic creams, antihistamines and insect bite creams
  • Painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children) or ibuprofen

Realised that in the haste to open your advent calendar you have forgotten to take your pill? Not only can you visit a community sexual health service to get a repeat contraceptive pill, they can also offer emergency contraception and advice and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Click here for Christmas opening times for sexual health services at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital or here for opening times in Sefton and Knowsley.

Got an urgent dental problem that can’t wait until the New Year? If you need urgent treatment and either your usual dental clinic is closed or you are not yet registered with a dental practice, you can call the NHS Urgent Dental Helpline on: 0161 476 9651, 9am - 9.30pm every day, including weekends and bank holidays.

The service is provided according to strict criteria such a trauma (usually caused by a blow to the face), swelling of the face, uncontrolled bleeding or pain that can’t be managed by pain relief. They do not deal with routine dental problems such as lost or broken fillings and crowns, and NHS dental charges will apply.