29th January 2019
The Met Office has issued a severe weather alert as Stockport’s hit by snow and ice that may stay with us until the start of the weekend.
Weather experts say it will become increasingly cold, with snow showers arriving, leading to severe overnight frosts and icy conditions.
Along with the snow, the temperature will hover around zero – although in the cold wind it will feel as icy as -7 at times. This will increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and could even disrupt the delivery of services.
During severe cold weather, GP surgeries and in particular A&E see a massive increase in the number of patients coming through their doors.
Some are in urgent need of immediate medical help but others have common winter bugs that will clear up by themselves within a few days.
To enable the NHS to concentrate its resources where they are really needed, health chiefs are asking patients make sure they use the health services properly.
Patients should only go to A&E in a real emergency such as heavy blood loss, chest pains or loss of consciousness.
If you’re unsure if it is an emergency, call NHS 111. It’s a free number, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The call handlers will provide health advice and can put you in touch with the right service.
Being well prepared is the answer to many medical problems.- if you have a reasonably well stocked medicine cabinet you can treat most minor illnesses, like sore throats, coughs and colds and upset stomachs, at home.
It saves you a trip to your doctor’s surgery or hospital and also means doctors can concentrate their efforts on patients who really need their expertise.
Remember your local high-street pharmacy is part of the NHS. Pharmacists are highly trained professionals who can deal with minor illnesses and complaints such as coughs, colds, flu, stomach upsets, aches and sprains and the bonus is you don’t need to book an appointment with them.
It’s also a good idea to call in on elderly relatives or neighbours. It can be a particularly dangerous time for them. Lend a helping hand so they don’t have to venture out while the weather is so inhospitable.