Stay well this winter
Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health. The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses.
But there are lots of things you can do to help stay well this winter.
Feeling unwell? Don’t wait – get advice from your nearest pharmacist
At the first sign of a winter illness, even if it’s just a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist, before it gets more serious. This can be the best and quickest way to help you recover and get back to normal. If you can’t get to a pharmacist yourself, ask someone to go for you or call your local pharmacy.
Make sure you get your flu jab
The flu virus strikes in winter and it can be far more serious than you think. Flu can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and it can be deadly.
You are eligible for the free flu vaccine if you are pregnant, are aged 65 years or over, have a long term health condition, or are a carer. Children aged 2 or 3 years are also eligible. Speak to your GP or pharmacist.
You can also find more information at www.nhs.uk/getflujab
Also, don’t forget that if you’re aged 65 or over, you are eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, which will help protect you from pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia. Ask your GP.
It is important to keep warm both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F), keep active, wear several layers of light clothes and take advantage of financial schemes and discounts to help you pay for heating.
Check your medicine cabinet
Speak to your pharmacist as many over-the-counter medicines are available to relieve symptoms of common winter ailments, such as colds, sore throat, cough, sinusitis or painful middle ear infection (earache).
Make sure you get your prescription medicines before your pharmacy or GP practice closes for Christmas.
Look out for other people
Older neighbours, friends and family members may need extra help over the winter. Make sure they’re stocked up with enough food supplies, medicines and they wrap up warm if they need to go out in the cold.
For more information and advice visit www.nhs.uk/staywell
Where to go for the right medical care:
For life threatening emergencies call 999.
Call 111 if you need NHS medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency.
Contact your GP or local pharmacist for less urgent health needs.
You can also access NHS advice at www.nhs.uk