With local hospitals coming under continued pressure during the festive break, people are being asked to help stop the spread of bugs and make sure they know where to go when they need help as we enter the new year.

Minor injury or complaint? Get WaitLess

Dorset has a number of places where you can be treated for urgent, but non-life-threatening conditions and the WaitLess app can help you get seen more quickly.

WaitLess displays how many people are currently in each urgent and emergency care setting in Dorset, along with the current wait time and the time it would take you to get there based on your current location; allowing you to make an informed decision on where to seek treatment.

WaitLess is available for download on both Android and Apple devices.

Use your local pharmacy

Most conditions will clear up on their own, but if your illness does persist, visit your pharmacist.

Most pharmacies offer consultation rooms if you would like to discuss your illness in private.

To find your nearest pharmacy along with opening times visit www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-pharmacy.

Make sure you get your flu jab

The flu virus strikes in winter and it can be far more serious than you think.

Flu can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and it can be deadly, that’s why the flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk. You can find more information at www.nhs.uk/getflujab.

Having the vaccination will protect you against flu and will also mean you’ll avoid passing the virus on to people who might be more at risk from complications, such as older people, children, and people with long-term medical conditions.

Help halt the spread of bugs

Unless it is essential, if you have symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting please do not visit hospital or any healthcare setting until you have been clear of symptoms for 72 hours (three days).

If you are due for an appointment, please call the number on your appointment letter to rearrange to a different date and time.

Thorough hand washing with soap and water can help stop the spread of bugs. Using alcohol gel by itself will not work. People who are due to visit hospital for an elective (planned) procedure or operation and have been unwell with any kind of sickness, diarrhoea or flu like symptoms are asked to ring the hospital in advance.

For more information, visit www.staywelldorset.nhs.uk.

If you or someone you are with has sustained life-threatening injuries call 999 and ask for an ambulance.