THE sooner you act the better.
That’s the message from health chiefs as they prepare to back a new project which encourages people to get help if they are under the weather.
The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is backing a new campaign which is called The Earlier, The Better.
Its aim is to get people to go to their pharmacist in plenty of time to seek help.
Trust chiefs say it is important over the winter months that elderly people tell a friend, family member or carer if they are unwell.
That could be anything from having a bad cough, cold or sore throat. By seeking help, the experts can help to prevent it getting worse.
The campaign is also asking those who care for, or visit an elderly relative, to get advice from their local pharmacist or from www.nhs.uk/asap to prevent a minor illness developing into something more serious that eventually needs to be treated in hospital.
A spokesman for the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust said: “Contacting a pharmacist first can help lead to a reduction in the number of people using urgent care services such as accident and emergency and ease the pressure on these services.”
The trust’s clinical director for accident and emergency Andy Simpson said: “Local pharmacists can provide expert guidance on how to help manage long term conditions, or give advice on the best treatment for a cough or cold.
“Older people must seek help as soon as possible to prevent a trip to hospital if their condition gets worse. Dealing with many healthy issues early on can help stop these issues getting worse and can help prevent a person needing treatment in an urgent and emergency care service with an illness that could have been treated by self-care or community pharmacy services.”
He said older people were “particularly vulnerable” to illnesses in the winter, and added: “I want to stress the need for people to do everything they can to look after their health and to do everything they can to stay healthy during this time.”
The campaign runs until the end of March.