Stay Well This Winter

Published Wednesday, 29th November 2017 Stay Well This Winter

People in Rotherham are being encouraged to take early action to avoid catching colds and flu in order to stay well this winter.

There are a number of things which can help people prepare against the cold weather. It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F), if you can, you might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer.

At the first sign of a cough or a cold get help from your pharmacist before it gets more serious and ask about medicines you should have in stock to help get you and your family through the winter season. Make sure you pick up prescription medications before the Christmas holidays start, as many GPs and pharmacies will close over the holidays.

Making sure you throw away used tissues and wash your hands after blowing your nose can also help prevent germs from spreading – remember to catch it, bin it, kill it.

For those with long term health conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), diabetes, heart or kidney disease or for those who have suffered a stroke, cold weather and winter illnesses such as flu, can make health problems like these far worse. Cold weather can also be very harmful for people age 65 or older: it weakens the immune system, increases blood pressure, thickens the blood and lowers body temperature, increasing risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections.

The free flu vaccination is particularly important for those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu. These include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with long-term health conditions. Check if you are eligible here: nhs.uk/staywell

If you are pregnant flu can cause serious complications for you and your baby - you could both get seriously ill. Vaccination is the safest way to help protect you and your baby against flu. So don’t put it off, ask your GP, pharmacist or midwife about the free flu jab today. It’s free because you need it, however many months pregnant you are and however fit and healthy you might feel.

The flu vaccine for children from 2 to 8 years old is just a quick nasal spray. For children aged 2 and 3 their nasal spray vaccine is available through their GP. School children from reception class through to year 4 will get their nasal spray through their school.

If you’re eligible for the free flu vaccine, get it now. It’s free because you need it.

Cllr David Roche, Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “Winter can be a gloomy time with colder weather and darker nights, so we advise people to avoid making the cold season more miserable by making sure they take action to keep well.

“Keeping warm, making sure you have your flu jab and using NHS resources and visiting pharmacies can all help beat cold and flu, and help free up appointments with GPs for those who need to see their doctor most.”

The Council’s Director of Public Health, Teresa Roche added: “Protecting yourself and your family before cold and flu symptoms appear is vital in avoiding passing on nasty bugs to one another and to avoid missing days at school or work. Some of the simplest ways to help prevent the spread of the flu virus and other bugs are by handwashing and using tissues to catch it, bin it and kill it for coughs and sneezes.”

If you do need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk. The Stay Well This Winter campaign, a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England, can help you and your family prepare for winter.

Visit nhs.uk/staywell