Christmas time for most of us will be a time for celebrating the festive holidays and enjoying time with friends and family –  it can come with its health problems though.  Due to the cold winter weather, over indulgence of food and alcohol and the stress of running around buying presents and visiting family sometimes our health suffers.

It’s also for some people a time of sadness as we remember those family members and friends that have passed.

Your Medicines, Your Health campaign asks members of the public not to keep a stock of medicines at home, they do however encourage you to pre-order your prescribed medicines in plenty of time to ensure that you have enough to last you over the Christmas period.  No one can predict the weather, so think ahead and order your medication in plenty of time in case you can’t get there last minute.

GP practices will be open as usual on Friday 23rd December. The Cwm Taf GP out-of-hours service, which is designed to deal with patients with urgent medical conditions only, will commence at 6.30pm on Friday 23rd December and will operate through to 8.00am on Wednesday 28th December. GP practices will open as normal on the morning of Wednesday 28th December.

Over the New Year period GP Practices will have normal opening on Friday 30th December.  The GP Out-of-Hours service will commence at 6.30pm on Friday 30th December and will operate until 8.00am on Tuesday 3rd January 2017.

We are also asking you to choose well this winter and only visit accident & emergency if it’s urgent.  The ambulance services and A&E departments will be busy treating seriously ill and life threatening conditions – by visiting A&E when you haven’t got a life threatening or serious condition not only puts others at risk but can also lead to a very long wait until you are seen.

There will local pharmacies open in Cwm Taf over the Christmas period.  Pharmacists can help with many minor ailments, like heartburn, coughs, hangovers, upset stomach and much more.

We also have two minor injuries units that can help with minor injuries and cut down waiting time.  Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda is appointment only, or you can walk in to Ysbyty Cwm Cynon.

Look out for others!  Christmas is a season for celebrating and spending time with family for most of us, but there are many people that have no family or live alone.   Keep an eye on them – pop in to check they are ok.  It will make so much difference to them to know someone cares.

There is also help out there for people who feel down or depressed or just need someone to talk to. Visit http://www.samaritans.org/ or call 116 123 round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – someone is there for you.

Your health at Christmas!