As winter approaches, common winter illnesses such as cold and flu begin to circulate and a drop in temperature can make some health conditions worse – but cold weather doesn't have to go hand in hand with illness. Here are some simple things you can do to help yourself stay well this winter.
Have your flu jab
Anyone over 65, pregnant women, children aged between 2 and 5, people with long term conditions and carers are all entitled to a free flu jab. You can have your flu jab at your GP practice or pharmacist. The flu virus changes every year, so it is important to be vaccinated each year.
Choose the right care
Christmas, New Year and the winter period in general are typically extremely busy times for health services. You can help your local NHS and ensure you get the treatment you need when you need it, if you think carefully about where to go for advice and treatment.
Many common winter ailments such as coughs, colds, sore throat, tummy ache and sprains can be treated at home. Pharmacists can also offer advice and treatment for a number of minor illnesses and injuries.
If your condition is more serious, you can make an appointment to see your GP or if you need to be seen right away, you can visit a walk-in or urgent care centre.
If you have a life-threatening condition, serious accident or need emergency treatment, you should go to A&E or call 999.
If you are need help urgently, but are unsure where to go – you should call 111.
Download our guide to staying well this winter with useful contact details to local services here.
Ask your pharmacist
Pharmacists are experts in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Find your local pharmacy here.
If you need medical advice fast, but it’s not an emergency – call 111.
· 24/7 free health advice line
· fully trained health advisors ready to help you
Remember 999 and A&E are for serious and life-threatening emergencies only. View more information here.
Keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable neighbours
Winter can be a particularly lonely time for elderly and vulnerable people. Darker, longer nights and bad weather conditions can prevent people from getting out and about and can lead to isolation. Keeping an eye on, and visiting, elderly and vulnerable family, friends and neighbours can help to keep them well.
Some stay well tips!
- Keep warm – this may help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia.
- Eat well – food gives you energy, which helps to keep you warm. So, try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.
- Get a flu jab – flu vaccination is offered free of charge to people who are at risk, pregnant women, carers and some young children to ensure that they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications.