Winter has arrived – here are six ways to stay well - Public Health Dorset
Winter has arrived – here are six ways to stay well
Winter can be hazardous to health, especially for the young, elderly and vulnerable. But there are steps you can take to stay well this winter.
By Paul Compton
Cold weather can be harmful, especially for people who are 65 or older. The lower temperature can mean you’re more likely to pick up illnesses, such as flu, or make existing conditions worse.
The Stay Well This Winter campaign aims to help people with long-term health conditions and those over 65 prepare and ward off common winter illnesses.
Look out for people
Winter can be a difficult time for the elderly and vulnerable. The best way you can help is to visit and look out for elderly neighbours and relatives. Check they have all of the protections listed below and aren’t suffering from cold or damp housing.
Prepare to protect
There are a number of things you can do to prepare against the cold weather:
- At the first sign of a cough or cold, get immediate advice from your pharmacist before it gets more serious
- Speak to your pharmacist about medicines you should have in stock over winter
- Make sure you get your flu jab
- Pick up prescription medications before the Christmas holidays start as many GPs and pharmacies will close over the holidays
- It is important to keep warm in winter, so heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F). You might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer
- If you need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk
Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications if you have a long-term health condition. It can also badly affect young children and pregnant women.
If you have a child aged 2, 3 or 4, get their free nasal spray flu vaccine from their GP. Children in school years 1, 2 or 3 will get their vaccinations through their school.
Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as flu can cause serious complications for you and your baby.
The flu jab is the safest way to protect you and your baby against flu and you can have it at any stage of pregnancy, however fit and healthy you might feel.
If you work for a frontline council service, you may be eligible for a flu jab. If so, you will be given a voucher by your line manager.