A well-stocked medicine cabinet could keep stop ill health ruining your Christmas.

That’s the advice from top doctors in Huddersfield and North Kirklees.

Already stretched A&Es are likely to be even busier between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day and should only be used for genuine emergencies.

But remedies for most winter ailments can be bought without a prescription from your pharmacy.

Pharmacies, many of which will remain open during the bank holidays, can give advice on minor ailments such as coughs, colds, aches and pains.

Here’s what you need:

- pain relief, such as paracetamol and aspirin;

- children’s oral paracetamol or ibuprofen;

- mild laxatives for constipation;

- cold relief products;

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- re-hydration mixtures in case of diarrhoea or vomiting;

- indigestion remedy;

- travel sickness tablets for family trips;

- tweezers and sharp scissors to remove splinters and cut bandages;

- a thermometer to check for fever;

- a range of bandages, plasters and dressings.

Dr David Kelly, chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG, said: “A lot of people don’t realise how much time and money they cost the local NHS when they use A&E for minor illnesses.

“A&E is for accident and emergency cases only, such as severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, significant head injuries and broken bones.

“Many patients who attend A&E or call 999 could be treated more quickly by their GP, their local pharmacist, or even by themselves with basic self-care, first aid or telephone advice from NHS 111.”

Chair of North Kirklees Clinicial Commissioning Group, Dr David Kelly
Chair of North Kirklees Clinicial Commissioning Group, Dr David Kelly

But if your medication requires a prescription make sure you order it before the surgeries close for the bank holidays.

Greater Huddersfield CCG medical director, Dr Steve Ollerton, said: “During bank holidays we tend to see an increase in calls to our out-of- hours GP service from people who have simply forgotten to re-order prescription medicines such as asthma inhalers.

“But forgetting to get enough supplies can put a lot of strain on the service, which is there to deal with urgent health problems.

“The message is simple: If you have a repeat prescription, please check that you have enough to last over the days that your GP practice is closed.

“That way you don’t risk getting ill if you run out or have to take up an out-of- hours GP’s time to issue another prescription.”

Pharmacy opening times during the bank holidays can be found on the CCGs’ (clinical commissioning groups) websites: www.northkirkleesccg.nhs.uk and www.greaterhuddersfieldccg.nhs.uk .