The NHS 'Stay Well This Winter' campaign helps those with long-term health conditions, those over 65, pregnant women and parents of under-7's to stay well, and keep their loved ones well, during winter months. It has tips on:
- seeking immediate advice and help from a pharmacist as soon as you feel unwell, before it gets too serious
- getting prescriptions before 24 December so you're not without essential medication over the festive period
- completing a course of prescription medicines
- stocking up on winter food supplies
- keeping an eye on elderly or frail friends, neighbours and relatives
- getting a flu vaccination
Tips to help you self care and stay well this winter
GPs across York have shared their tips on dealing with a range of ailments and what you can do to stay well this winter.
The NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) video playlist offers a range of tips on:
- treating flu at home using over the counter medicines
- treating cold and flu
- medicine cabinet essentials
- treating coughs
- treating ear infections
- treating sore throats
- treating sinusitus
- treating back pain
- treating musculoskeletal pain
- treating sleep disorders
- managing fatigue
- viral infections
- managing anxiety and low mood
Other winter health advice
Winter flu vaccination
If you're eligible, getting your free annual flu vaccine is a good way to keep yourself healthy during winter.
You'll need a flu vaccine each year because the viruses that cause flu change from year to year. Remember, even if you don’t have flu-like symptoms, you can still pass on flu to other people. Older people, the very young, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch flu.
For more information about flu vaccines, contact your GP surgery or watch these short videos in which local GPs offer advice and explanations about the flu vaccine:
- the flu vaccine explained
- flu vaccine guidance for people aged 65 and over
- having your flu vaccine at a community pharmacy
- having your flu vaccine during pregnancy
Make sure you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day to keep yourself warm, and keep active in the home if you can.
Visit NHS Choices for further ideas and information.
Wear warm clothes
Wrap up warm, inside and out. Layering clothing helps you stay warm as air is trapped between layers, keeping you insulated. Wearing layers of cotton or fleecy clothes is particularly effective.
Wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside and wear a hat or head scarf. If possible, stay inside during a cold spell if you have heart or respiratory problems. When indoors, wear well-fitting slippers with fleecy linings to keep your feet warm and to help prevent falls.
To keep warm when inside you could try:
- using a covered hot water bottle or electric blanket (but not at the same time!) to keep warm in bed
- wearing bed socks and warm night clothes
Keeping your home warm
Cold homes have a significant impact on your health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.
If you have reduced mobility, are aged 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, you should:
- heat your home to at least 18oC
- keep your bedroom at 18oC all night
If you're aged under 65 and healthy, you can safely heat your home to cooler than 18oC as long as you're comfortable.
Reducing fuel bills
Cold weather benefits
You’ll need to claim them if you’ve not had them before, and if any of the following apply:
- you don’t get benefits or a State Pension
- you only get Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit
- you get benefits or a State Pension but live in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland
A fitter you in the new year
Whatever your age or ability, being active is important for physical and mental wellbeing and can be a great way to meet new people.
You can start with as little as 10 minutes per day and build up from there, working towards the recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week. There’s a wide range of different ways to become more active in York; these include enjoying a health walk, fitness class, a swim or joining one of 300 voluntary sports clubs.
See our Sports and leisure pages for more information.
Supporting vulnerable people
We’re urging you to think of vulnerable friends and neighbours over the winter period.
Top tips for supporting older or vulnerable neighbours, friends and relatives:
- make sure they’re warm enough; the temperature in their home should be at least 18oC, particularly if they are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over
- check they are wearing enough layers of clothing to stay warm
- try to make sure they have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day
- check they have enough medication to last whilst their GP practice is closed
- contact Age UK York for information about social groups and activities for older people
Visit Age UK’s Spread the Warmth campaign to find out more about helping older people who may need extra care during cold weather.
Christmas can also be a particularly difficult time for people living with dementia; visit Alzheimer's UK for ideas on how to support people with dementia over the festive period.