As winter approaches, common winter illnesses such as cold and flu begin to circulate and a drop in temperature can make some health conditions worse – but cold weather doesn't have to go hand in hand with illness. Here are some simple things you can do to help yourself stay well this winter.
Have your flu jab
Anyone over 65, pregnant women, children aged between 2 and 5, people with long term conditions and carers are all entitled to a free flu jab. You can have your flu jab at your GP practice or pharmacist. The flu virus changes every year, so it is important to be vaccinated each year.
Flu season set to begin – older people and carers urged to get crucial vaccination
Older people and carers, who are more at-risk of catching flu and suffering complications, are urged to get their vaccination early to prevent illness. Dr Andrew Coward, Chair of BSC CCG said: “About this time each year, the flu virus begins to circulate widely in the community so it’s important that vulnerable people are protected as soon as possible. Click here to read more.
Choose the right care
Christmas, New Year and the winter period in general are typically extremely busy times for health services. You can help your local NHS and ensure you get the treatment you need when you need it, if you think carefully about where to go for advice and treatment.
Many common winter ailments such as coughs, colds, sore throat, tummy ache and sprains can be treated at home. Pharmacists can also offer advice and treatment for a number of minor illnesses and injuries.
If your condition is more serious, you can make an appointment to see your GP or if you need to be seen right away, you can visit a walk-in or urgent care centre.
If you have a life-threatening condition, serious accident or need emergency treatment, you should go to A&E or call 999.
If you are need help urgently, but are unsure where to go – you should call 111.
Keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable neighbours
Winter can be a particularly lonely time for elderly and vulnerable people. Darker, longer nights and bad weather conditions can prevent people from getting out and about and can lead to isolation. Keeping an eye on, and visiting, elderly and vulnerable family, friends and neighbours can help to keep them well.
Ask your pharmacist
Pharmacists are experts in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Find your local pharmacy here.
View the pharmacy opening times during August bank holiday 2017 (Birmingham and Solihull area) here.
If you need medical advice fast, but it’s not an emergency – call NHS 111.
- 24/7 free health advice line
- fully trained health advisors ready to help you
Remember 999 and A&E are for serious and life-threatening emergencies only. View more information here.
Should I go to A&E?
Here's Dee's A&E Fail Tale to help you find the right place to go for health concerns this winter.
Every parent or carer wants to know what to do when a child is ill. This handbook will help you to care for your child at home, to know when to call the GP and when to contact the emergency services.
Most of the problems you will come up against are simply an everyday part of growing up, which can be helped with a chat with your health visitor or midwife. Almost all babies, toddlers and children aged up to five will also get the most common childhood illnesses like chickenpox, colds, sore throats and ear infections. While these are not very nice at the time, they are easy to treat with a visit to your GP and then cared for at home. This handbook has been put together with help from doctors.
If you are worried you must get further advice. Trust your instincts - you know your child better than anybody else.
More often than not something that can seem quite serious, like a high temperature, can be put down to a cold, which can often be sorted out with a quick trip to your localpharmacy. It is so easy to panic and rush your child to Accident & Emergency (A&E) when they might just have a simple cough or cold which can be treated at home. If you are worried, you must of course go and see your GP – but it’s worth finding out a little more about the common, everyday illnesses so you know what to do and where to go to get help.
How to keep well with Tony Kelly
Tony Kelly, Diabetes UK's Regional Community Champion, talks to us about staying healthy, including his top tips for a healthy lifestyle and why it’s important to get the flu jab.
Top benefits for using NHS111
Top tips on prevention and self care
General tips for a healthy lifestyle
Why I get the flu jab