Staying well this winter

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Winter can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or older, and people with long-term conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart conditions. Younger children and pregnant women are also more at risk from winter ailments. But there are lots of things you can do to stay well this winter.

Get your flu jab if you’re at risk

Having your flu jab is one of the most important actions you can take to protect your health.

So, please don’t risk your health as flu can, and does, kill. It’s vital you have the flu jab if you’re eligible. You can find out more here.

Is your medicine cabinet ready for winter?

There are lots of other winter illnesses that you can protect yourself against. A well-stocked medicine cabinet is important to support you with coughs and colds – the last thing anyone wants to do when they are ill is go out. Make sure you have stocks of cold remedies, painkillers, antiseptic cream and plasters. It’s always important to keep medicines out of the reach of children.

If you get a cold you can usually look after yourself by resting, drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and avoiding strenuous activity. Painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can relieve aches and pains.

Ask your pharmacist

If you’re not sure what medicine you need, please ask your pharmacist. Your local pharmacy can provide advice as well as over the counter remedies, and can help you decide whether you need to see a doctor too.

You can see a full list of pharmacy opening hours for the festive period here.

Stay warm and keep well

It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

To keep warm at home during the day, try to heat your main living room to around 18-21°C (64-70°F) and the rest of the house to at least 16°C (61°F). Set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed, and in very cold weather, set the heating to come on earlier, rather than turning the heat up.

If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together. And don’t forget to wrap up warm if you do go out. Check the weather forecast so you are always prepared.

Eat healthily

Food is a vital source of energy for everyone, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep in touch with your friends, family and neighbours in case they have not been able to get out to the shops. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – try them in stews and soups – and keep some tins in stock when snowy/icy weather is forecast. 

Further information and resources