The Winter Solstice is an astronomical phenomenon which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year.
For one small moment in time, the movement of the earth and the sun in relation to each seems to pause. For one brief moment, the sun is neither rising or setting when viewed from the earth.
The term solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium, meaning the Sun stands still. This is because on this day, the Sun reaches its southern-most (or northern-most during the June Solstice) position as seen from the Earth. It seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn (and Tropic of Cancer during the June Solstice) and then reverses its direction.
Here in Formby that astronomical moment is today, 21 December 2017, at 16.28 GMT.
After that until the summer solstice, each day gets longer and each night shorter. I think I've read somewhere it either gets darker or lighter by two minutes each day depending on the season.
WITH the Christmas and New Year bank holiday weekends around the corner, the NHS in Sefton is reminding you of the expert advice and treatments available from your local pharmacy when you need it the most.
Your local pharmacy can offer free, confidential and expert advice on a range of health issues. They can also help you to self-care and prepare for many common winter illnesses and offer advice on which medicines to keep in stock at home.
Dr Anna Ferguson, Bootle GP and NHS South Sefton CCG’s lead for medicines, said:
Dr Anna Ferguson
“With GP practices closed on the Bank Holiday weekends, it is important that residents, especially those who require a repeat prescription, plan well ahead.
“Several pharmacies will be open, so that if you or a loved one falls ill, there is help out there. Not only that, but pharmacists can offer support to help encourage self-care. You don’t need to make an appointment to speak to your pharmacist and you can expect a confidential and discrete consultation within a private area in the pharmacy.
“It’s important to remember that A&E and 999 services are under particular pressure over this time of the year and are for life threatening and serious conditions, so by planning ahead and using your local pharmacy, you can not only avoid any unnecessary visits to the A&E, but also help to ease pressure and ensure that the service is readily available for people when they need it most.”
Dr Hilal Mulla, Southport GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG’s lead for medicines, said:
Dr Hilal Mulla
“This is a very busy time for health services, so it’s more important than ever that you use the NHS wisely to get the right advice and care should you or someone you look after becomes ill over the festive period. We’re asking that you Examine Your Options and choose from the range of help that’s available close to home when your GP surgery is closed, including from your local pharmacy.
“You’ll find a chemist not far from home, even on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day and your pharmacist can give you expert health advice and over the counter treatments for the most common illnesses and ailments without the need for an appointment.
“We’re also asking you to take some simple steps to make sure you’re prepared for the holidays by stocking up on over the counter medicines and speaking to your GP practice early to making sure you’ve got enough of your repeat prescriptions whilst remembering not to over order.
“Medicines like paracetamol and ibuprofen are good for a range of common winter illnesses. It’s useful to keep a supply at home and your pharmacist will be happy to advise if you’re not sure.
“Our Care at the Chemist scheme is offered in a number of Sefton pharmacies making sure vulnerable patients who don't routinely pay for their prescriptions have free and easy access to the over the counter medicines they need without seeing a doctor. You’ll find a list of those that offer the scheme on our website.
Which pharmacies are open?
Several pharmacies will be open throughout the festive bank holiday period and the best way to find out your nearest is to check on your CCG’s website.
You will also find more information to help you Examine Your Options when you are unwell, including walk-in centre opening times and accessing the out of hours GP service by simply calling 111.