That’s the message from health bosses in the build up to one of the busiest time of the year for emergency services.
Everyone likes to let their hair down to welcome in the New Year and enjoy the socialising that comes with it, but it’s easy to get carried away and have one drink too many.
That’s why, as part of the Think! Why A&E? campaign, Fylde coast doctors are urging local residents to take caution when enjoying a festive tipple.
Excessive alcohol consumption not only leads to a bad hangover but also significantly increases your likelihood of an accident or injury too. The result could leave you welcoming in the New Year in a way you don’t want to.
Avoidable accidents such as slips, trips and falls all become more likely the more alcohol you consume. Add to this wintery weather conditions and the likelihood of suffering an injury that may need medical treatment increases considerably.
If you are out and about celebrating this festive season, these tips can make sure you safely return home to your own bed, rather than a hospital bed.
- Eat something – eating food with alcohol helps you to pace yourself, and a full stomach will slow down the effects of the alcohol.
- Pace yourself – enjoy a drink slowly. You don’t have to join in with every round.
- Watch out for strength – try drinking low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks.
- Watch your size – ask for a smaller glass. A large glass of wine is equivalent to roughly a third of a bottle!
- Hydrate – alcohol is a diuretic, which means it will dehydrate you. Drink water regularly whether you’re drinking at home or in a pub.
- Set yourself a limit – decide on a limit of how much you plan to drink and stick to it. The NHS Drinks Tracker app is a great way to keep track of what and how much you are drinking and is completely free to download from: www.nhs.uk/app/nhs-drinks-tracker.
Winter is always a difficult period for NHS services, particularly A&E departments and throughout the festive period these departments face extra pressures.
Speaking on behalf of NHS Fylde and Wyre and NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Groups as well as Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Thornton GP Dr Tony Naughton said: “People are inclined to drink more during Christmas and New Year. We are not saying ‘don’t drink’. Just be aware of how much alcohol you are consuming and don’t put yourself at an increased risk of an accident or injury. Celebrate in style – not hospital!
“If you do have an accident or suffer the effects of too much alcohol it is vitally important that you take the best course of action to treat your condition. A&E is for emergencies and serious illnesses only. You should always try the Walk in or same day centres, pharmacy or GP first. A hangover can be treated by staying at home. If you’re not sure where to go call 111 and you will be given the best advice.”
For more information on which health service to access should you require medical treatment this Christmas, please visit www.WhyAandE.nhs.uk.
Notes to editors:
- Think! Why A&E? is a joint campaign between NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG, NHS Blackpool CCG and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
- Self care – Minor illnesses, ailments and injuries can be treated at home. Coughs, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs and aches and pains can be treated with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest.
- Pharmacy – Pharmacists offer a range of health services. As well as dispensing prescriptions and other medicines, your pharmacy can provide free confidential expert advice and treatment for a variety of common illnesses and complaints, without having to book a GP appointment. You can find your nearest pharmacy by visiting the ‘services near you’ section of nhs.uk.
- NHS 111 – This is a free telephone service, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You should call 111 if you urgently need medical help or information, but your situation is not life-threatening. When you dial 111, you will be directed to the best local services to make sure you get fast and effective treatment.
- Walk-in or same day centres – These centres provide consultations, guidance and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, as well as emergency contraception and sexual health advice. There are two centres on the Fylde coast, (locations can be found at www.whyaande.nhs.uk) both operating seven days a week from 8am onwards.
- GP surgery – If you have an illness or injury that won’t go away, make an appointment with your GP. They provide a range of services by appointment, and when absolutely essential, can make home visits. If you need to see a GP outside of the surgery’s normal opening hours, telephone the surgery and your call will be forwarded to the GP out-of-hours service.