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Preparation key to good health this holiday season

Wednesday 17 December, 2019

Preparation and using your options wisely are the keys to good health and helping out your healthcare services this Christmas and New Year.

Our population increases over the holiday season, as does the demand on local health services, and you can help yourself and others with a little planning and forethought.

“It’s a really good idea to prepare yourself before the holiday period,” says Dr Joe Bourne, a GP for Nga Kakano Foundation in Te Puke. “Make sure you have enough of your repeat medicines because it clogs up the Emergency Department (ED) to go in if you run out of them. We need to keep ED for emergencies.”

If you are heading out of town camping or on holiday, packing some of the basics such as plasters, antiseptic cream and some basic paracetamol gives you something to use to either avoid medical assistance, or help while you seek medical support.

If you do need medical assistance over the holiday period, choosing where to access it can save you time and money.

“It’s about options,” says Dr Bourne. “If you’re injured; with a sprained ankle, sore back or sore neck, for example, then a physiotherapist is often a better first option rather than a GP. A physio has specialised knowledge in these areas and can start treatment leading to a faster recovery. Also many community physiotherapists will offer a free first consultation for ACC issues.”

Likewise, a pharmacist is often a good first port of call for minor illnesses.

“For many minor illnesses such as coughs and colds, sore throat, sore eyes, scrapes and scratches, a pharmacist is a great option. And many pharmacies have longer opening hours over the holiday period,” says Dr Bourne.

Bay of Plenty residents needing healthcare advice are reminded they can phone their GP day or night. A nurse triage service answering after-hours calls is in place for all the Bay’s GPs.

“Calling your doctor and getting transferred to the nurse can help you confirm if you need to go into ED or reassure you that you can wait until your regular GP is available”.

Those people visiting the Western Bay of Plenty who are not registered with a local GP can access the same service by calling 0800 367 432584.


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