Take steps to avoid a trip to hospital this festive season

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AS the festive period gets in to full swing the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) is asking the public to spare a thought for the accident and emergency crews who will be working over the Christmas period.

Ambulance paramedics, non-emergency crews and control room and support staff will be providing clinical care around the clock to the region throughout the festive celebrations.

EEAST is urging everyone to stay safe as we enter the Christmas and bank holiday weekend, and if you need health advice to choose the right health care service for their needs.

People can take some simple steps to help themselves, such as stocking up on medication ahead of the holiday to manage any health conditions, taking care when out and about and keeping warm.

Spokesman Gary Sanderson said: “The Christmas holiday period is traditionally a busy time for the ambulance service and we are encouraging people to take a few simple steps to help themselves and avoid a trip to hospital – something no one wants during this festive time. At this time of year, the public can also help the ambulance service by choosing the right healthcare service for their needs and only dialling 999 in an emergency.”

Remember, always call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, for example:

* chest pain

* difficulty in breathing

* unconsciousness

* severe loss of blood

* severe burns or scalds

* choking

* fitting or concussion

* drowning

* severe allergic reaction

* If you suspect a stroke (Do the FAST test - Facial weakness - can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped? Arm weakness - can the person raise both arms? Speech problems - can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Time to call 999.)

Where to get treatment and advice for non urgent illness and accidents:

GP or practice nurse, you can call even when the surgery is closed and either be redirected to the GP out of hours service or given a number to contact them.

NHS Direct on 0845 4647 will give you advice and information over the telephone 24/7 Visit your a local walk in clinic, there is one in most major towns and cities, where no appointment is necessary.