Be prepared for the holiday season, advises Fraser Health

Dr. Neil Barclay

ARE you ready for the holiday season? You’ve done your Christmas shopping, planned that special dinner, and decorated the tree. What about taking care of your medical needs?

As some primary care providers, clinics, drug stores, and pharmacies may reduce their operating hours or even close for the holidays, Fraser Health recommends you book your medical appointments as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss out on seeing a health care professional or getting important prescriptions refilled.

“This time of the year, we see many health care professionals and offices start to wind down so their staff can enjoy the holidays,” said Dr. Neil Barclay, Fraser Health’s regional medical director for emergency medicine. “There are a few things you can do to be prepared. Check your medications and see your primary care provider if you need to get a prescription renewal, and also find out the holiday hours for your local pharmacy or drug store to ensure you get your refills done early.”

Here are some more healthy tips from Dr. Barclay for the holidays:

  • If you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, loss of consciousness, heavy bleeding, breathing difficulties, severe abdominal or chest pain, or a major accident, call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
  • If you are unsure what to do about a health issue or your options for care visit for online symptom checking and trusted health advice or call 8-1-1 (7-1-1 for hearing-impaired) to speak with a health system navigator for way-finding and health care options for your medical issue. 8-1-1 services are:
    • Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
    • Multilingual services
    • Access to health service navigators, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, or physical activity specialists who can help you get the information you need to manage your health concerns or those of your family.
  • To inquire about non-urgent care during office hours, call your primary care provider or the provider on call for that clinic or practice, or try a walk-in clinic. After hours, visit for online symptom information or call 8-1-1 for advice about your health concern and options for care.
  • Know the holiday hours for your local pharmacy or drug store.
  • If you get a cold or flu, ask your pharmacist for advice about over-the-counter medications to ease your symptoms. Reminder: It’s not too late to get a flu shot. Find the nearest clinic to you here.
  • If you are a resident of North Surrey, you can also visit the new Surrey Urgent Primary Care Centre. The centre provides diagnosis and care for non-emergency conditions requiring medical attention within 12 to 48 hours, including sprains, urinary problems, minor cuts or burns, lacerations, earaches and sore throats. As it has only recently launched, the centre is currently open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday with the exception of Christmas Day.
  • If you have a mental health crisis, call the 24/7 Fraser Health Crisis Line at: 604-951-8855 or 1-877-820-7444 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
  • If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control at: 1-800-567-8911.