Stay well this winter
Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health,
especially for people aged 65 or over, and people with long-term
conditions. We want to help protect you and those you care
Winter health advice
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
Keep warm - this may help prevent colds, flu
or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes
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.
Common winter illnesses
- Colds - to ease the symptoms of a cold, drink
plenty of fluids and try to rest. Steam inhalation and vapour rubs
can also help. Prevent colds from spreading by washing your hands
thoroughly, cleaning surfaces regularly and always sneeze and cough
into tissues, throwing them away after use.
Find out more about treating colds
- Sore throats - a sore throat is almost always
caused by a viral infection, such as a cold. Try not to eat or
drink anything that's too hot, as this could further irritate your
throat; cool or warm drinks and cool, soft foods should go down
Find out more about treating sore throats
- Asthma - a range of weather-related triggers
can set off asthma symptoms, including cold air. Covering your nose
and mouth with a warm scarf when you're out can help.
out more about treating asthma
- Norovirus - this is also known as the winter
vomiting bug, although it can cause diarrhoea too. The main thing
to do to is drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You can
also take paracetamol for any aches, pains or fever.
Find out more about treating norovirus
- Flu - if you're 65 or over, have a long-term
health condition such as diabetes or kidney disease, flu can be
life-threatening, so it's important to seek help early. However, if
you're generally fit and healthy, the best treatment is to rest,
stay warm and drink plenty of water.
out more about treating flu
If you're not sure which NHS service you need, call 111. An adviser will ask you questions to
assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or
direct you straightaway to the best service for you in your
Ask your pharmacist
Pharmacists are expert in many aspects of healthcare and can
offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common
illnesses such as coughs,
stomach upsets. You don't need an appointment and many have
private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call.
Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.
See your family doctor
GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems.
They also provide health education, give vaccinations and carry out
simple surgical procedures. Your GP will arrange a referral to a
hospital specialist should you need it.
Visit an urgent care service
Visit a walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care
centre if you have a minor illness or injury (infections, vomiting
and stomach aches) and it can't wait until your GP surgery is open.
These urgent care services are often managed by nurses and some
also have doctors. You don't need an appointment and they are open
outside office hours.
Accident and Emergency
A&E departments provide vital care for life-threatening
emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart
attacks, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be
stopped. If you're not sure it's an emergency, call 111 for advice.