Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or older, and people with long-term conditions such as heart or kidney disease, COPD, asthma or diabetes. 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.
DON’T WAIT! If you are feeling unwell, don’t wait – get advice from your nearest pharmacy. At the first sign of a winter illness, even if it’s just a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist, before it gets more serious. Act quickly. If you can’t get to a pharmacist yourself, ask someone to go for you or call your local pharmacy.
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.
That’s why the flu jab is free if you’re aged 65 or over, or if you have a long-term health condition. If you’re aged 65 or over, you are also eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, which will help protect you from pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia.
If you have young children, grandchildren or you are the main carer for an older or disabled person, you may also be eligible for the free flu jab. Just speak to your GP or pharmacist.
TIPS FOR STAYING WELL THIS WINTER
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 problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
Heat your home to at least 18ºC (65ºF). You might prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer. Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights – breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections.
Keep active when you’re indoors. Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so. Wear several layers of light clothes as they trap warm air better than one bulky layer.
Make sure you’re receiving all the help that you’re entitled to. Learn how to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating and keep up with your energy bills at www.gov.uk/phe/keep-warm
CATCH IT. BIN IT. KILL IT.
Flu is very infectious and spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.
To reduce the risk of spreading flu:
- Use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
- Wash your hands often with warm water and soap
- Bin used tissues as quickly as possible