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Dr Owl is taking to the spring skies to remind people to take a few simple steps to look after their health this Easter and make the most of the holiday weekend.

The wise Dr Owl was joined at the Milestone Garden Centre in Melrose by youngsters Poppy and Archie Godfrey to help launch the Be Health-Wise This Easter campaign, run by NHS 24 on behalf of NHSScotland. GP surgeries in Fife will be closed for four days, from Good Friday (March 25th) to Easter Monday (March 28th), before re-opening on Tuesday March 29th.

People are being reminded to check their local GP surgery and community pharmacy opening hours and to make sure they have a supply of over the counter medicines and repeat prescriptions.

The Easter holiday is one of the busiest part of the year for the NHS in Scotland and NHS 24's Medical Director, Professor George Crooks is urging people to stay safe and be prepared: "It's an early Easter this year so there could still be winter colds and illnesses around alongside spring challenges such as hay fever. It is important that people are as prepared as possible if they want to make the most of the Easter break.

"Being prepared means having enough over the counter medication on hand if illness strikes. It is also important to plan ahead for any required repeat prescriptions over Easter, so please order only what you need and collect in good time. Finally, the NHS inform website is packed with advice for common ailments."

Dr Margaret Hannah, Director of Public Health, NHS Fife added:

"Don't forget, your local pharmacy can also be a great source of advice on treating minor illnesses or injuries. For example, with children off school and with improving weather, there can be an increased risk of minor injuries like cuts and bruises, so make sure antiseptic cream or wipes and plasters are part of your home medicine cabinet.

“Also if you are out and about in the countryside or visiting a farm don’t forget to wash your hands before you eat anything.”

Although many GP surgeries will be closed at Easter, hundreds of GPs will be working throughout this period supporting out of hours services across Scotland. The Be Health-Wise This Easter campaign aims to reduce pressure on our vital NHS services during a very busy period by helping to keep us healthy and well and advising what to do if we do fall ill.

General advice and information on how to stay healthy this Easter can be found at contact NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.