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Healthy Living

Seasonal Health

Winter Health

 

NHS Stay Well campaign

The NHS have launched their 'Stay Well this winter campaign'.

You will find information about flu vaccinations, keeping warm, winter illnesses and winter tiredness. as well as a wide range of resources to help you stay well over winter.

More information on Stay Well this winter here (Opens in a new window)

Keeping warm helps you to keep you well. If you do not keep warm, you may have problems with breathing which could lead to a serious chest infection.

 

Keep healthy this winter

Illness can affect you at any time of year but there are a few complaints which are associated with the cold weather.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to make sure you avoid, or reduce your experience of, the most common seasonal ailments.

 

Get a Flu jab

Flu is a highly infectious illness that spreads rapidly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are carrying the virus. Some people are more at risk of complications from the flu virus, such as pneumonia and bronchitis. If you're classed at being at risk make sure you have your annual flu vaccine. They are available from September onwards from your GP or pharmacy.

If you are at risk of complications from flu, you may be eligible for a free flu jab if you are:

  • aged 65 and over
  • aged six months to under 65 in clinical risk groups (with a long term health condition)
  • pregnant
  • aged two, three or four years old
  • in long stay residential care homes
  • a carer

If you are a health care or social worker, check the arrangements with your employer to see if you are eligible for the vaccine as it is recommended that front line workers are vaccinated every year against the flu.

If you are unsure if you qualify for the free flu jab, contact your GP.

Catch it, kill it, bin it

Help prevent the spread of colds and flu by always using tissues, throwing them away immediately and washing your hands well.

 

Tips for staying well in winter

Staying healthy over winter can be a challenge for anyone, especially for those that manage a long term condition or have a weakened immune system such as, young children, pregnant women and the elderly.

Tips for a healthier winter

  • Drink plenty of fluids: water will help keep you hydrated

  • Eat your five a day: hot vegetable soups and stews are a great way to keep you warm and healthy

  • Add moisture to the air in your house with a humidifying device

  • On cold days: when outside, breathe through your nose and wrap a scarf around your face, it will help warm the breathed in air which may save you a few coughing spells

  • Avoid colds: if others have a cold, try to avoid them as their germs are airborne

  • Keep your nose clean: blow your nose as often as required. Your nose works overtime in the winter months by trapping dust and germs

  • Keep Active: if the weather gets too bad to exercise outside, walking around the house, climbing the stairs and cleaning the house all count as exercise.

  • Avoid dust: replace the air filters if you have a central heating system and dust frequently, especially where dust can gather in hard to reach places

  • Keep a healthy weight: during winter months, try and stay at or below your ideal weight

  • Consider the flu vaccine

  • Stay away from smokers: be aware that smoke from someone else’s cigarettes can be irritating and as harmful to you as if you were smoking.


You can't avoid every illness over the cold weather, but you can be prepared and manage whatever comes your way. Keep a basic medical kit stocked with supplies for the most common ailments such as cold and flu remedies, cough medicine and throat lozenges and you won't have to wait to start treating the symptoms.

It's also a good idea to keep stocked up on non perishable food and household essentials, so that if you do become ill, you don't have to venture out into the cold.

Keep Warm this Winter

The cold weather can affect your health, particularly if you have a long-term condition so it's important to try and keep yourself and your home warm.

Some people are more at risk from the cold, including the elderly, very young and disabled people.

Get warm and stay warm

Whether you are going out or staying at home there are simple things that you can do to get warm and then hang on to that heat as long as possible.

Wear Layers

You may have heard this many times, but that's for a simple reason. It works! The layers trap warm air between them meaning you have your own insulation. If you're going out, you should aim for at least three layers. Next to your skin you want light, soft clothing such as a long sleeved t-shirt.

Next you need something warm like a woolly jumper and lastly a good water and windproof coat. If you do have to go out and you don't have a waterproof jacket, make sure you change clothes and dry off as soon as possible if you get wet. You cool down much quicker when you are wet and prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause illnesses such as hypothermia.

Don't forget to layer up other clothing too. You can put thick socks over a thin pair and wear leggings or lycra sports trousers under jeans or looser trousers.

Wrap up well

Getting the layers right is one thing but you also need to cover up the other parts that are likely to feel the chill too.

You can pick up hats, scarves and gloves for relatively low cost and they are great at stopping the wind getting in through gaps in your coat, or keeping your ears and fingers warm.

It's especially important to keep your hands from getting too cold as this can cause extreme discomfort as well as making it difficult to use them if you need to tie shoelaces, or perhaps look for change while you are out and about.

Take the heat with you

Before you go out it's a good idea to pre-warm your gloves, hat and boots. Put them on a radiator or near a radiator for a few minutes before you go out (taking care that it's safe to do so) and your head, hands and feet will be toasty warm before you even go out.

If you're going to be out for a while you can keep snug by taking something to help keep you warm. Many shops sell low cost hand and feet warming pads that can be either single use or reusable. They are usually room temperature but when 'snapped' heat up. You can slip them in your gloves, pockets or shoes for instant heat.

You could also take a flask with a hot drink or soup in. As well as warming your hands, this will give you energy and warm you from the inside out.

Staying Safe in Summer

There are a lot of risks and accidents associated with the summer months from sunburn, heat stroke, dehydration, insect bites and water based incidents.

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