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Health Matters - Five top tips for staying well this winter

Health Matters - Five top tips for staying well this winter
14 November 2018

Dr Julia Huddart, clinical lead for urgent care at NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG

Cold weather can be seriously bad for your 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 Stay Well This Winter.

From keeping warm to common winter illnesses, free advice about how to stay healthy is available on our website.

Here are five things that I recommend you do:

  1. 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, aged 65 years or over, have a long-term health condition or are a carer. Children aged two or three and children in reception class and school years 1 to 5 are also eligible.
  1. Keep warm
  • Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F).
  • Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights.
  • Keep active when you’re indoors. Wear several layers of light clothes.
  • And check your heating and cooking appliances are safe. Visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk    
  1. Take advantage of financial schemes and discounts to help you pay for heating.

Make sure you’re receiving all the help that you’re entitled to. Learn how at www.gov.uk/phe/keep-warm

  1. Visit your local pharmacist as soon as you start to feel unwell with the symptoms of a respiratory winter illness. Many over-the-counter medicines (including paracetamol and ibuprofen) are available to relieve symptoms of common winter ailments such as colds, sore throat, cough, sinusitis or earache.

To manage winter illness symptoms at home:

  • Rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Have at least one hot meal a day to keep your energy levels up
  • Use over-the-counter medications for relief.
  1. Look out for other people who may be in need of a bit of extra help over the winter.

Keep in touch with your friends, neighbours and family and ask if they need any practical help or if they’re feeling under the weather.

Make sure they’re stocked up with enough food.

If they do need to go out in the cold, encourage them to wear shoes with a good grip and a scarf around the mouth to protect them from the cold air.