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NHS Help Us Help You – Stay Well This Winter Posted on 10 Sep 2020

We’re here to help you stay well this winter

Some important information from the NHS to help you stay well this winter.

Stay well this winter

Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or older, and people withlong-term conditions such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, diabetes or heart or kidney disease.

Being cold can raise the risk of increased blood pressure,heart attacks and strokes.

The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems and make usmore vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses. But thereare lots of things you can do to 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 orcold, get advice from your pharmacist, before it gets moreserious. Act quickly.

The sooner you get advice from a pharmacist the better.Pharmacists are fully qualified to advise you on the bestcourse of action.

This can be the best and quickest way to help you recoverand get back to normal.

If you can’t get to a pharmacist yourself, ask someone to gofor 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 seriousthan you think. Flu can lead to serious complications suchas bronchitis and pneumonia, and it can be deadly.

That’s why the flu jab is free if you’re aged 65 or over,or if you have a long-term health condition.

If you have young children or grandchildren they may alsobe eligible for a free flu vaccination.

And if you are the main Carer of an older or disabled person
you may also be eligible for the free flu jab. Just 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 helpprotect you from pneumococcal diseases such aspneumonia. Ask your GP.

Keep warm

It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside andoutdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months can help toprevent colds, flu and more serious health problems suchas heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

Here are some things you can do to keep warm:

Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F). You might preferyour main living room to be slightly warmer.

Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights.
Breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increasesthe risk of chest infections.

Keep active when you’re indoors. Try not to sit still formore than an hour or so.

Wear several layers of light clothes. Several layers trap warm air better than one bulky layer.

Make sure you’re receiving all the help that you’re entitled to. Learn how to make your home more energyefficient, improve your heating and keep up with yourenergy bills at www.gov.uk/phe/keep-warm

And check your heating and cooking appliances are safe. Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make surethey’re operating properly. Visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Check your medicine cabinet

Ask your pharmacist what medicines should be in yourcabinet to help get you and your family through the winter season.

Many over-the-counter medicines (including paracetamoland ibuprofen) are available to relieve symptoms ofcommon winter ailments, such as colds, sore throat, cough,sinusitis or painful middle ear infection (earache).

So talk to your pharmacist for advice on getting the relief you need.

To manage winter illness symptoms at home, you should rest, drink plenty of fluids, have at least one hot meal a dayto keep your energy levels up and use over-the-counter medications to help give relief.

Prescriptions

Make sure you get your prescription medicines before yourpharmacy or GP practice closes for Christmas.

And, if you’ve been prescribed antibiotics or any othermedication, make sure you take them as directed.

You can also order your repeat prescriptions via the NHSApp, as well as make GP appointments. This is availablenow in the App Store and on Google Play. For moreinformation visit www.nhs.uk/nhsapp

Look out for other people

Remember that other people, such as older neighbours,friends and family members, may need a bit of extra helpover the winter. There’s a lot you can do to help people whoare more frail than you.

Icy pavements and roads can be very slippery and coldweather can stop people from getting out and about. Keep in touch with your friends, neighbours and family and ask ifthey need any practical help, or if they’re feeling under the weather.

Make sure they’re stocked up with enough food supplies for a few days, in case they can’t go out. If they doneed to go out in the cold, encourage them to wear shoes with a good grip and a scarf around the mouth to protectthem from the cold air, and to reduce their risk of chestinfections.

And make sure they get any prescription medicines
before the Christmas holidays start and if bad weather is
forecast.

If they need help over the holiday period when the GPpractice or pharmacy is closed or they’re not sure what todo, NHS 111 can help. The service is available online at111.nhs.uk and also by BSL interpreter service, textphoneand phone. We give details of how to contact NHS 111shortly. By answering questions about their health problemthey will be told what to do and where to go. You can alsofind information at www.nhs.uk

Five things we recommend you do:

  1. Make sure you get your flu jab.
  2. Keep your home at 18°C (65°F) or higher if you can.
  3. Take advantage of financial schemes and discounts to help you pay for heating.
  4. Visit your local pharmacist as soon as you start tofeel unwell with the symptoms of a respiratory winter illness.
  5. Look out for other people who may need a bit ofextra help over the winter.

Also make a note of the contact details of your local
pharmacy.

And make a note of things you need to remember to do for winter.

Where to go for the right medical care

999 - For life threatening emergencies call 999

You can also text the emergency services on 999 but youneed to register your phone in advance. To find out more goto emergencysms.org.uk

Go straight to NHS 111

If you need medical help fast and you’re not sure what to do– go straight to NHS 111 to get clinical advice and directionto the most appropriate services for treatment.

To get help from NHS 111 you can:

  • go to the 111.nhs.uk website (for people aged 5 and
    over only)
  • call 111 by phone

If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, you can:

  • call 18001 111 on a textphone
  • use the NHS 111 British Sign Language (BSL)interpreter service. You can find out more about how touse the service at 111.nhs.uk

GP and Pharmacy

For less urgent health needs, get them seen to at a localpharmacy or GP practice. Consultations with pharmacistsand evening and weekend practice appointments are alsoavailable locally.

You can also access NHS advice and information at www.nhs.uk

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Your Neighbourhood Professionals. Just a Click Away!