At the first sign of winter illness – even if it’s a cough or cold – people are asked to seek advice from their local pharmacist, before it gets worse.
Those who are eligible, but have not yet received their flu vaccine, should make an appointment with their GP practice or local pharmacy as soon as possible to help protect themselves from the virus. The vaccine is offered free on the NHS to those at risk, including:
- People aged 65 years old and over
- Pregnant women
- People aged from six months to 65 years old who have a serious medical condition (check with your pharmacist or GP to see if you are eligible)
- People living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
- Carers for elderly or disabled people
- Health and social care staff employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable people
Those who are 65 or over, or have a pre-existing health condition such as heart or lung disease, are advised to heat their homes to at least 18C to help reduce the risk of serious health complications.
For people who feel tired and sluggish during winter, getting outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible should help to regulate sleep and waking cycles.
Dr Faisel Baig, GP and Chair of NHS North Lincolnshire CCG, said: “From keeping your house warm, to protecting yourself from common ailments, it’s important to take steps to stay healthy this winter.
“Throughout the cold weather, looking out for yourself and others is essential to keeping healthy. Now is a good time to make sure you, and those you know who may be particularly at risk from the cold, are as prepared as possible.”
“If you do find yourself feeling unwell over the colder months, your local community pharmacy can offer expert advice and treatment for many minor health problems.”
“If you have a more urgent healthcare need and your usual GP service is closed, you can call 111 for advice.”
Wendy Fisher, Associate Nurse Director for Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) in North Lincolnshire, said: “People report that the long dark nights affect their mood as they are less active and more socially isolated.
“With Seasonal Affective Disorder, or any other mental health condition, it is always important to seek help as soon as you feel you are not well. Early help is key to helping residents get better more quickly.”