Go well this summer

Te Whatu Ora Taranaki encourage you to Go Well and enjoy summer this year by being prepared and knowing how to stay healthy and safe. If you get sick this summer, please choose the right healthcare for you and your whānau.

Most people who get sick will have minor symptoms and will be able to recover at home, or where they are staying on holiday. Check out this important information to help you Go Well this summer.

Seeking healthcare support and information over summer

  • If you get sick, for free medical advice 24/7, 365 days a year call Healthline on 0800 611 116 – interpreter support is available. If you’re not sure what to do or where you can get in-person health care at this time of year, Healthline can advise what services are open wherever you are in the country. 
  • If you or someone in your whānau needs to see a doctor, contact your local healthcare provider to arrange an appointment. Also contact or visit your local community pharmacy to ask for advice. Please bear in mind that their opening hours may differ from their normal hours over the Christmas holiday period. See www.healthpoint.co.nz for details of services open across the motu over summer.
  • For children/tamariki under 5, call Plunketline on 0800 933 922 for free health advice 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • For a sports injury you can go straight to a physio or sports injury clinic. They can arrange x-rays and treatment, register an ACC claim or refer you to a specialist.
  • You can book a virtual on-line consultation with a GP with one of the providers based in NZ.
  • In an emergency dial 111.
  • If you are away from home, or an international traveller, you can contact a doctor or medical centre in the local area where you are staying but you may need to pay for advice and care.
  • Keep up to date with all medications, immunisations and necessary health appointments during summer, like screenings, diabetes checks and tests.
  • General online health information and self-help resources can be found at www.healthify.nz

Emergency care

Te Whatu Ora hospitals at Taranaki Base and Hāwera will continue to provide critical and emergency care 24/7 as they have always done over the summer.

Hospital emergency departments and many urgent care clinics remain open – so if it’s an emergency, always call 111 or go to the emergency department if you are seriously unwell or if it’s a life-threatening emergency.

For more information on emergency care please visit Emergency Department Base Hospital (tdhb.org.nz)

Viruses, bugs and illnesses to look out for over summer

Measles

  • Of all the diseases that could severely impact your summer, measles is one of the most dangerous and contagious. 
  • Measles spreads easily among people who are not immunised.
  • Aotearoa is at a high risk of a measles outbreak.  People are travelling more and there’s greater potential for it to arrive in New Zealand.
  • The best protection against measles is two doses of the free MMR vaccine – this provides lifelong protection in 99% of people.
  • The MMR vaccine is free for anyone aged 18 and under, and those over the age of 18 who are eligible for free healthcare in New Zealand

It usually takes 10-12 days from exposure to measles to the first symptom becoming obvious:

  • The illness begins with fever, cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis (inflammation in the eyes), which lasts for 2-4 days.
  • It may be possible to see small white spots inside the mouth.
  • A rash appears 2-4 days after the first symptoms, beginning at the hairline and gradually spreading down the body to the arms and legs. The rash lasts for up to one week.

Be on your guard against gastro

Gastroenteritis (gastro/tummy bug) is highly infectious, and large numbers of people can be affected in a short amount of time. Main symptoms are diarrhoea (runny poo) and vomiting (being sick).  Bugs such as norovirus, rotavirus, salmonella, campylobacter and cryptosporidium can all cause gastro symptoms.

Gastro spreads very easily from person to person. This can happen by shaking hands with someone who has been sick and has virus particles on their hands, having contact with an infected person’s vomit or poo, by touching contaminated objects like shared items, door handles, or cutlery, and from eating contaminated food, drink or water.

To guard against gastro, it’s important to wash your hands with soap and water, and dry your hands thoroughly, especially:

  • before eating or preparing food
  • after going to the toilet
  • when changing nappies
  • after contact with an infected person

If someone in your home, workplace or education facility has gastro, to prevent spread:

  • Ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, rooms and affected areas, especially frequently touched surfaces or objects, and bathrooms and toilets.
  • Keep spaces well-ventilated by opening windows and doors several times a day to increase fresh air flow.

Stay cool and well this summer

As temperatures rise, it’s important to look after yourself and your whānau this summer.

Extreme heat can cause illness and death, but effective planning and actions can reduce its effects on health.

We are all vulnerable to hot temperatures, some people are more at risk. This includes older people, babies and infants, people who are pregnant, those with pre-existing medical conditions or on certain medications, and people living alone.

There are some simple steps that we can all take to reduce the risk to our health when the temperatures are high:

  • Plan ahead - check the forecast, pack enough water and food, use a chiller bag
  • Drink plenty of water and encourage your children to drink often
  • Stay out of the sun, find shade outside wherever possible and stay indoors when you can and wear loose and light cotton clothing
  • If you have to be outside, remember to Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap. Slip on a shirt/top with long sleeves and a collar and slip into the shade, slop on sunscreen that is at least SPF 30, broad spectrum and water resistant, and apply 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours and slap on a wide brimmed hat and wrap on close-fitting sunglasses
  • Don’t leave children or pets unattended in parked cars
  • Keep a close eye on neighbours, especially the elderly, to check they’re okay. Remember, children, older people or those with health concerns may find it more difficult to cope with the heat
  • Keep your house cool by opening windows and doors on the shaded side and close curtains and blinds to keep the sun out
  • Keep cool while exercising.  If possible, exercise or do outdoor activities early in the morning or later in the evening
  • Don’t forget to call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free health advice.

Last updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2023

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