Ahead of the February half-term holiday, parents and carers are being encouraged to know their options for healthcare advice.

Unfortunately, sickness and accidents don’t take a holiday and as well as planning for adventures, NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging people to learn which services are available in Birmingham and Solihull if they or their child falls ill or suffers a nasty knock.

First, you can care of your child at home if they have a common health issue like a cough, cold, sore throat or headache. Make sure they get plenty of rest and give them their usual painkillers or medicines (always read the label). Stocking up your medicine cabinet with essential items such as antiseptic cream, plasters and painkillers before the holiday starts is also a really good idea.

Your local pharmacist is an expert in what over-the-counter products can help treat common illnesses. Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You don’t need an appointment – you can just walk in and get quick, confidential advice, with many pharmacies also having private consultation rooms. You can find your nearest pharmacy at www.nhs.uk.

If your child is feeling unwell and it’s not an emergency, you can make an appointment with your GP. GP extended access means that some now offer evening and weekend appointments and these can be found here. Out of hours, you can still call your GP surgery and follow the instructions on the answerphone message.

NHS 111 is also there for you to use 24/7 if you’re worried about an urgent medical concern, or if you’re not sure which NHS service your child needs. The service can be accessed by either calling 111 or visiting the website 111.nhs.uk. If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, you can call 18001 111 on a textphone or use the NHS 111 British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter service if you’re deaf and want to use the phone service.

If your child has an illness or injury and you can’t wait until your GP surgery is open, you can use a local walk-in, urgent care or urgent treatment centre. You can find out more about these centres here

Dr Will Taylor, a local GP and Deputy Chief Medical Officer at NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG, said: “Half-term is a great chance for families to relax and have fun together. However, it’s always good to be ready if things don’t go as well as you’d like and you end up caring for a poorly child. There are lots of healthcare options available and it is important that parents and carers are prepared for common illnesses and injuries with a well-stocked medicine cabinet, as well as knowing the most appropriate local services available to them.”

For more information on healthcare options visit www.birminghamandsolihullccg.nhs.uk/your-health