HELP Torbay and South Devon’s NHS this Christmas by using the most appropriate service, residents are urged.

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust wishes everyone a healthy Christmas, but says it’s here if anyone needs help.

The trust advised people to only visit the emergency department for life-threatening or critical conditions as staff need to focus on caring for people who need their help.

In a statement, the trust said: “Please visit the emergency department or call 999 if you have chest pain; are having difficulty breathing; a stroke; severe burns or scalds; severe bleeding that cannot be stopped; have a severe allergic reaction, or a major trauma such as being involved in a road traffic collision; or are caring for someone who is unconscious or is having a fit that does not stop.

“Lots of parents are worried about Strep A and Scarlet Fever. Symptoms include a painful sore throat, a fever, a light pink rash which feels rough like sandpaper when you run your fingers over it, and red lips and tongue. It can be treated with children’s paracetamol and ibuprofen, and drinking plenty of water.

“Call 111 or visit or your GP if your child does not improve, or has signs of being irritable and tired, not drinking as much as usual, does not passing urine in the past 12 hours, has a temperature of over 38 degrees if they’re under 3 months, or a temperature of over 39 degrees in older children, or you have a gut feeling something isn’t right. Visit an emergency department if you’re really concerned.

“For trips, falls and burns, our urgent treatment centre in Newton Abbot is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, and our minor injuries unit at Totnes is open from 8am to 5pm, 7 days a week. Nurses can treat burns, broken or fractured bones, sprains and strains, and anything that needs stitching.

“GPs are working this Christmas – only closing for the bank holidays. Please call them first if you need urgent health advice and care, and call 111 or visit when they’re closed. Pharmacists can also advise and treat illnesses like upset tummies, coughs and colds, sticky eye, and rashes.

“You can treat flu and COVID at home with paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, rest and sleep and keep warm.

“Please don’t come to hospital if you have a hangover; you can treat your sore head at home by drinking plenty of water, and taking paracetamol.

“Christmas can be a time for fun, but it can also be a difficult time for some people.

“It’s OK to not feel OK, and support is available if you have a low mood or are worried about your mental health.

“You can call the 27/7 urgent mental health helpline – 0808 196 8708 – and Mental Health Matters Devon at, whose 24-hour mental health helping is available 365 days a year. Call 0800 4700317.

“The Moorings - - is also open from 10am to 6pm, and 6pm to midnight Monday to Friday (including bank holidays), and noon to midnight Saturdays and Sundays. Call 07483 991 848 or email [email protected].”