Winter is a busy time for the NHS and there are a huge range of services available, so knowing the best place to go to get the right help is really important. Using the right health services is not only good for individuals but helps the NHS as a whole by making sure resources are used in the right way.
You can prepare for winter illnesses by following the simple steps below, so that whatever winter throws at you, you’re ready.
Step 1 – Medications: Replenish your basic medicine cabinet and ensure you have your prescriptions in order so you’re not left short, especially over the bank holidays. Please see our self-care for further information.
Step 2 – Flu Jab: If you’re eligible for the free flu vaccine, get it now – it’s free because you need it. Speak to your GP or pharmacy. Find out more about how to protect yourself and those around you with the free flu vaccination.
Step 3 – Keep warm, keep well: Winter conditions can be seriously bad for your health, especially for people aged 65 and over, or with long-term health conditions. If possible:
- keep your home heated to at least 18⁰C
- keep your bedroom window closed at night
- keep active when indoors and wear several layers of light clothes rather one bulky layer
- have at least one hot meal a day and drink plenty of fluids
It’s also worthwhile claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to before winter sets in. You can get help with heating costs through the Winter Fuel Payment, Cold Weather Payment and the Warm Home Discount Scheme
Step 4 – Know who to call and where to go: You can call into your local pharmacy for expert advice on your medication or if you have a minor illness. If you need to see a GP outside of working hours, GP surgeries now offer extended hours (Link to be added) for evening and weekend appointments. To find out about getting an out of hours appointment, give you GP practice a call. Don’t forget NHS 111 or NHS 111 online can help if you have you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do.
Find out more about preparing for common illnesses and short notice self-isolation.