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This is the message from Southern DHB and WellSouth as they launch their ‘Plan to be well this winter’ campaign.
The campaign focuses on being proactive about staying well this winter and provides advice to people about how best to manage their health to avoid getting a much more serious illness.
WellSouth Medical Director Dr Stephen Graham reminds people of the wide range of places available to seek care early.
“We want to make sure people know how best to manage their health in winter, that if they do get sick, to seek help early; and where to get the right care in the right place closer to home.
“You can call Healthline or ask for advice from your community pharmacy. If you’re getting worse, your General Practice is the best place to first seek medical attention. Your local urgent primary care facility (including the winter clinic in Invercargill) is also there for you.”
It’s an important message, say those working in Southern DHB’s emergency departments, who see winter illness at its worst.
While acknowledging that some illnesses can escalate quickly, Southern DHB Emergency Department consultant Dr Chris Johnstone says, “Sometimes the Emergency Department ends up looking after people who could have avoided their condition becoming so serious if they had sought help earlier from their doctor.”
The campaign urges people with long-term health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease or respiratory illness to prepare for winter by having a flu vaccination to protect themselves, to plan to manage their condition with their GP, and to seek help early if it gets worse. The message is don’t leave your health to chance and don’t wait for it to become an emergency.
For advice about how to keep your home healthy and what to do if you’re feeling unwell, visit: www.southerndhb.govt.nz
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