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It’s horrible to feel under the weather, particularly if you have been unwell for days, weeks or even months on end.

The most important thing is to seek medical advice. If it’s not an emergency, contact your GP or health clinic and arrange an appointment.

You may also wish to visit the NHS Wales ‘Choose Well’ website, which can be used to help direct people to the most appropriate source of help and healthcare.

Out of hours advice

If you think you need a doctor, telephone your GP surgery even if it is closed. A recorded message should direct you to the out of hours service covering your surgery.

If you have specific symptoms, but are not sure if it is an emergency or not, contact NHS Direct Wales for advice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Call: 0845 4647
Textphone: 0845 606 4647
BT Typetalk: 1 8001 0845 46 47

You might prefer to do a self-assessment based on your symptoms.

If you are in severe pain or have injuries which need urgent medical attention, go straight to your local accident and emergency department.

Anyone with dental pain should contact their own dentist (during working hours) or for those who do not have a regular dentist, to contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647 or 111 Wales on 111 (if your area is covered) for an assessment, advice and signposting to the most appropriate source of care.


An emergency is a situation where someone:

  • is unconscious;
  • is losing a lot of blood
  • is struggling to breath
  • may have had a heart attack
  • has been seriously injured
  • has been badly burned.

In an emergency, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. If you are unsure if it is an emergency or not, contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647.

Returning from overseas

With foreign travel so commonplace, it’s easy to ignore the risk of picking up an infectious disease while you’re away. Diseases like malaria, dengue fever, typhoid and yellow fever are still prevalent in many parts of the world and vaccinations do not protect you against everything.

Symptoms of some infectious diseases do not present themselves for weeks or even months after your return so if you experience symptoms like headaches, nausea, fever, shaking, muscle aches, vomiting or diarrhoea and have travelled abroad recently, remember to tell your doctor.

For more information about travel vaccinations visit NHS Direct Wales.

The Foreign Office provides detailed information about the health risks in individual countries.

Going into hospital

If you need to go into hospital suddenly, take your medication, a small amount of money and your toilet bag. Don’t forget your door keys.

If you are looking after someone

An emergency plan sets out what would happen if there was an emergency and you were unable to continue in your caring role in the short-term or for longer.

It’s also a good idea to ask your GP to write in your notes that you are a carer.

First aid

The Red Cross has produced a free app which provides easy advice on 18 everyday first aid scenarios, including what to do if someone is having an asthma attack or has sustained a head injury. There are also tips on how to prepare for emergencies, e.g. severe winter weather or a road traffic accident. Once the app is downloaded, no internet access is needed. Visit Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Last updated: 04/07/2017