These are our top tips for keeping well this winter!
Local health and care services are all ready for winter and we have a stack of help and advice to give you the best chance of staying fit and well through the darker, colder months.
It's also really important to heed the advice about how and where to get help if you do feel unwell - it can all help keep our health services keep running smoothly over the winter which in turn helps us all!
Here's some advice we should all follow this winter:
If you feel unwell, especially during the evenings, night or at the weekend, the best way to get help and advice is to use the NHS's 111 service. It is available 24/7 and an expert will quickly assess the best way to help you. Trained staff can connect you with a nurse, doctor, pharmacist, or mental health nurse depending on your needs and they can also book appointments with a doctor if you need one. It’s also available online at www.111.nhs.uk.
Get help early if you start to feel poorly
Don't wait until you feel worse - especially if you're older or have a long-term health condition. Call 111 or speak to your pharmacist who can advise you what's best to do, whether you need more treatment and where to get it if you do.
Manage sickness or diarrhoea at home if you can
If you have a bug that's making you sick or giving your diarrhoea the first course of action should be to speak to a GP or call 111 for advice. Unless you are severely unwell it is better not to go to hospital, because you could spread the infection to other people and may have to wait a long time to be seen due to how busy A&E departments get in winter.
Get your flu vaccine
Flu is a really unpleasant illness that can knock even fit and healthy people right off their feet. It can also pose more of a threat for some people, for example, the young and elderly, pregnant women and people with other health conditions. Many people are eligible for a free flu vaccine and it's the very best way to protect against the virus. If you're aged 65 or over, are pregnant, are a carer or have a learning disability or certain other types of long term conditions, all these groups of people are eligible for a free vaccine, along with all children aged 2-10. To check if you or someone you care for is eligible for a vaccine go to www.nhs.uk/flu or contact your GP or pharmacist today.
Keep your medicine cabinet well stocked
You can treat many common bugs and viruses at home with over the counter medicines, lots of fluids and rest. Make sure medicines to treat common colds, flu and bugs are in date and that you have plenty of them ready for winter.
Get advice from a pharmacist
Visiting your local pharmacy can be the fastest way to get advice if you have a minor health problem. Pharmacists are highly trained medical professionals who can help with a wide range of issues – from stomach bugs, to coughs and colds and minor injuries like strains and sprains. You can also find out more about treating minor health conditions on nhs.uk
Getting a repeat prescription
It’s a good idea to order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time, especially before the festive holiday period. Ordering online is more convenient – just ask your GP or find out more about how about online services work or how to get an emergency prescription
Good hand hygiene
Just washing your hands well and regularly, especially before you eat and after you've been out and about might be all it takes to stop you developing a bug or a virus during winter. You can find out the NHS advice for the best way to wash your hands here!