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!
Winter advice if you are a carer
If you're a carer then you are eligible for a free flu vaccine. It's really important that you stay well to look after anyone depending on you, plus you can avoid passing on an illness to a more vulnerable person.
To get your free flu vaccine make sure you contact your GP or local pharmacist.
If you work in a care home you too are eligible for a free flu vaccine - again speak to your employer, your GP or your pharmacist.
If you work with or look after someone with a learning disability or autism you can help to make sure they get their vaccine too.
Winter is also a harder time of year for the elderly and isolated and we can all do our bit to help friends and neighbours who may be more vulnerable. Could you offer to do an elderly neighbour’s shopping for them for example, or just knock on the door and check they’re OK?
For more winter advice from the nhs go to www.nhs.uk/staywell.
Read our winter travel tips too
We've got plenty of top tips for safer driving during the winter.
From journey planning to what equipment you should keep in your car, plus checks you can carry out, you can read all of Transport for Buckinghamshire's winter driving tips here.
Last year, TfB launched their successful Winter Driving Module, which ended up winning an award in March 2019.
The Winter Driving Module can be taken by anybody who wants to brush up on their driving skills in winter weather. Even if you took the module last year, there is no harm in taking it again this year as a refresher! It will remind you of how to make sure you’re driving safely in winter weather conditions, what equipment you should keep in the car if you’re travelling during the winter and how to prepare your vehicle for winter driving.
You can find the module here:
Last chance to have your say on the priorities for the new Buckinghamshire Council
There are only a few more days to go for people, businesses and local organisations across Buckinghamshire to share their views on the priorities and budget for the new Buckinghamshire Council.
In the ’Your council, your services, your views’ consultation, which has received over 2,000 responses so far, residents are being asked for their views on which services the new council should focus on and the proposed budget for 2020.
The new Buckinghamshire Council will replace the five existing county and district councils in Buckinghamshire and will be responsible for providing all local services from 1 April 2020. This includes many of the services residents use on day-to-day basis such as waste and recycling collections, roads and transport, education and learning, health and social care, planning and leisure facilities.
Responses from this survey will help shape the future priorities and plans for the new council when it comes into being from next year.
Click here to fill in the consultation online. It closes on Monday 25 November 2019.
If you need support to complete the online survey you can get it at the main libraries in Amersham, Aylesbury, Beaconsfield, Buckingham, Chesham, Hazlemere, High Wycombe, Marlow and Princes Risborough.
Your favourite tipple can impact your health
With the forthcoming festive season in mind, it's worth having a think about the amount of alcohol you drink in general.
While we don't want to put a dampener on the season of good cheer, do bear in mind that if you like a glass of wine or a pint you could be putting your health at risk in more ways than one.
Last week was Alcohol Awareness Week and we’ve asked people to think about the wide ranging impact drinking alcohol can have on their health.
The key advice is that there is no ‘safe’ amount of alcohol you can drink without it impacting on your health, so it is better not to drink any alcohol at all.
However, if you don’t choose to cut it out completely at the moment, you should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week and these should be spread out over several days with some alcohol-free days in between. This will help keep the health risks of alcohol to a low level and may even help you to cut it out over time.
There are lots of apps that help you keep track how much you're drinking; we like the NHS One You Drink Free Days app.
And with so many great tasting low or no-alcohol alternatives available these days, why not try a few before the festive season starts, so that you have some options to fall back on when the parties, catch ups, and dinners take place over Christmas and New Year?
Fewer young people are drinking than previously but it is still important to think about the messages we give our children about alcohol. The most recent recommendation is for an alcohol free childhood so what we say and what we do as parents are equally importantly, as it influences young people’s drinking habits.
Support to reduce your drinking:
One Recovery Bucks (confidential adult service, available for anyone including families or carers of drinkers).
0300 772 9672
Live Well Stay Well (advice and help with cutting down)
Switch Bucks (for children or young people who need help to stop drinking)
01494 527 000
The first step is always the hardest but it’s also the most important!
WW2 American crew honoured in special ceremony
This month's Remembrance Day ceremonies were especially poignant, with special tributes paid to the crew of an American warplane who sacrificed their lives to avoid crashing into a residential area of High Wycombe.
On the morning of 12 August 1944, the Boeing B17-G Flying Fortress ‘Tomahawk Warrior’ which was on its 25th mission to France, deliberately crash landed in a field in Penn killing all nine crew on board. The plane had been spotted in trouble over a built-up area of High Wycombe with two engines on fire. Pilot and captain Charles Searl desperately sought out an area of open land away from the densely populated area as the full bomb load the plane was carrying would have caused a massive loss of life if it crashed there. Searl managed to steer the plane away from the residential area of High Wycombe, narrowly missing the Lude Farm farmhouse in Penn and crashed in the open fields beyond. All nine crew were killed instantly but there were no casualties on the ground.
At a ceremony at Penn House on Remembrance Sunday, Councillor Brian Roberts, Chairman of Buckinghamshire County Council, presented three ceremonial scrolls, one to the nieces of one of the fallen crew, one to Penn Parish Council and one to David Huntley, who personally witnessed the incident and was the inspiration behind the ceremony.
Wreaths were laid and two minutes silence was observed across the whole county to remember all of those who lost their lives in past and current conflicts.
#rentsafe - check this advice if you rent your home
With so many people renting their homes nowadays, Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards teams are promoting a #rentsafe scheme - reminding people of what to be aware of to avoid falling foul of rogue landlords.
There is a lot of information on the government's website about how to #rentsafe.
Did you know?
- Tenancy deposits are now capped and there are procedures for holding deposits. Find out more here
- You will need certain documents available for landlords and agents to check, to confirm your identity and credit history for example. They may take copies but MUST return the originals to you
- Look for landlords who belong to an accreditation scheme such as The National Landlords Association, the Residential Landlords Association or the Guild of Landlords
- Or, if you go through a letting agent, they must be a member of a redress scheme
- Rental deposits should not be more than 5 or 6 weeks’ worth of rent (depending on the total annual rent) and must be protected in a government approved scheme. Find out more about deposit protection here
- Before renting, check for working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, your landlord MUST install them. Use this link to check the property is safe to live in
Look out for the #rentsafe hashtag on social media for more tips on renting safely.
Here's our guide to festive family events
It's now just over 4 weeks until Christmas and the festive diary is filling up across the county packed with fun seasonal events for all ages.
And as ever, our fantastic Family Information Service is making it easy for you to make plans with the return of our Christmas Map - showing you when and where events are taking place.
There’s a dazzling array of Christmas markets and craft fairs taking place across the county, including Waddesdon Manor’s spectacular Christmas Fair.
Santa’s Grottos are running throughout December, and some run all the way up to Christmas Eve giving the little ones plenty of time to draft their Christmas lists. You can find these Christmas events and more on our Buckinghamshire Family Information Service Christmas Map.
View the Buckinghamshire Christmas map of events
If you are running a Christmas market, fair or other family friendly event, or you know of one that’s not listed, let the BFIS team know by emailing FISdigital@buckscc.gov.uk including the name, date, time, address, price and a website for more information.
About The Buckinghamshire Family Information Service (BFIS)
Find Childcare, Childminders, Family Centres, and Family Activities in Buckinghamshire and access free, impartial information covering a range of topics relating to family life including the Local Offer for SEND.
LinkedIn: Buckinghamshire Family Information Service
Phone: 01296 383 065 Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm
Coming up this Christmas at the Bucks County Museum
What’s on at Bucks County Museum this Winter
There’s lots going on at Bucks County Museum in Aylesbury during the winter months. Enjoy a Christmas science show, take a nostalgic trip back to childhood or pick up some unique presents in our gift shop.
Katie Surridge Residency Exhibition
9 November 2019 – 4 January 2020
This year’s Muir Trust Artist in Residence at the Museum has been Katie Surridge (pictured right), an exciting mixed media artist specialising in metal casting. During her residency, Katie has been exploring the archaeology collections and creating her own artworks inspired by her finds. Come and see the fascinating results of her residency in this special exhibition.
12 Days of Christmas Science Show
Saturday 14 December, 1.30pm & 3pm
Start your Christmas with a FIZZ and a BANG! Bring the children to our amazing Christmas science show with festive experiments that include dry ice, bubbling potions, flashes and bangs. Our brilliant friends from Bright Sparks Science return with their popular scientific twist on the 12 days of Christmas carol. Lasts 40 minutes. This is a popular event so booking advised. Check website for charges and booking.
Toy Box Exhibition
14 December 2019 – 28 March 2020
This family favourite is back again with lots of hands-on toys and games to play with and toys that will bring back memories of childhood for parents, too. It’s the perfect place to bring family and friends on a cold winter day.
The Museum also has a café serving light snacks and a gift shop with unusual gifts, cards, books, great stocking fillers and now a beautiful selection of jewellery and ceramics made by the Bucks Craft Guild. Drop in and take a look.
For full details visit www.buckscountymuseum.org or call 01296 331441. Bucks County Museum, Church Street, Aylesbury HP20 2QP.
Leading better lives
Black Friday discounts on our Adult Learning courses
Fancy trying your hand at something new, learning a new skill or getting a new qualification?
If so, now's the perfect time!
Adult Learning are offering a 10% discount off their courses starting from 1 December 2019 – 31 July 2020, if you enrol during Black Friday week, Monday 25 – Friday 29 November 2019.
From garden design to French to painting and so much more, why not search for courses now and see what interests you.
For full information go to www.adultlearningbcc.ac.uk
Can you see into the future.....
Wouldn't we all love a crystal ball at times! It’s pretty tricky trying to see into the future, but if you could, what would you look for? Winning lottery numbers perhaps, or where to find your one true love?
Well, we can’t see far into the future for money or love, but we can help a little with your health.
Once we all hit 40, the risk of developing disease increases and knowing what you can do about it is key. This is where a Free NHS Health Check* comes in.
WATCH THIS TO FIND OUT MORE
Living an unhealthy lifestyle or being unaware of potential illness is why Free NHS Health Checks are so important. In a 20 minute check-up, your GP or nurse can spot early signs of illness and give advice and help on how to make useful changes. Getting these early signs checked out and diagnosed is what can make a difference to your future health and wellbeing.
Remember: feeling fine right now doesn’t mean you will forever - make sure you ‘future proof’ your health as much as you can, reduce the risk and book your NHS Health Check today.
You can find out more here or look out for the letter from your GP.
*To be eligible for a Health Check, you must:
- Be aged between 40 and 74
- Be a Buckinghamshire resident
- Not been diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or had a stroke
- Not had an NHS Health Check in the last 5 years