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Easter health advice from local health professionals

With health care services still under historic levels of pressure, people across Suffolk and north east Essex are being encouraged to be prepared and know what to do if they or a family member feels unwell over the Easter weekend.

Dr Hasan Chowhan, a GP in Colchester and chairman of NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Although it is certainly good news that vaccinations are proving effective in protecting our communities, the rate of infection remains very high so it’s important we remain cautious and do all we can to protect our own health and the health of our loved ones.

“Vaccination is of course, one of the ways of protecting your health this Easter and beyond. Everyone aged 5 years and above can now get a COVID vaccination, and whatever age you are it is not too late, you can go to a walk-in clinic or make an appointment.

“If you are planning a family gathering over the holidays, if the weather is clement enough, do consider meeting up in your garden or local park.

“Otherwise, make sure your home is well ventilated as letting fresh air into outdoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and helps prevent the spread of the virus. Encourage hand washing amongst your guests and consider having plenty of hand sanitizer close at hand for your guests to use.  And, beforehand, ask your guests if they are feeling unwell – if they are feeling poorly ask them not to attend to help protect the health of others.”

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP and chairman of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "I would encourage everyone to have at hand the medicine cabinet essentials including paracetamol, sticking plasters, indigestion remedy and anti-diarrhoeal medicine. Your pharmacist will be happy to offer advice on what medicines you should keep at home.

“It's also important to have enough repeat medicine to last over the holidays. Remember your GP surgery will be closed on Good Friday (April 15) and Easter Monday (April 18) and you need to leave enough time for your surgery to process a repeat prescription and your pharmacy to dispense it .”

Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you or a family member feels unwell firstly visit the NHS 111 Online symptom checker or telephone NHS 111 for help and advice.  Both of these services are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Some pharmacies will be open over the holiday weekend, including Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, so keep a note of the location of the pharmacy nearest to you and its opening times. Pharmacies are a great source of help and advice and the pharmacist could offer you over-the-counter medicine that will help you get better.

“And please remember that if you have the symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature and new continuous cough – you should remain at home and not go to the pharmacy, GP practice or hospital and follow the advice on NHS 111 Online.

“For anyone experiencing a mental health crisis you can speak to a mental health professional anytime, day or night, by calling NHS 111 and choosing option number 2.”

See link to pharmacies open on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday HERE

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