A national campaign to help people prepare for winter weather has been launched by NHS England and Public Health England. The message is to Stay Well This Winter and to encourage people most at risk from cold weather, including those with long-term health conditions and the over 65s, to prepare for the lower temperatures.
Winter can be a challenging time of year for those who are vulnerable to illness, or don’t have the means to eat well, keep warm, or stock up on medication. Although common winter illnesses are often preventable, many are still not treated early on, which would prevent them from developing into more serious, and possibly life-threatening, conditions.
This year NHS Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS community services provider CSH Surrey are joining forces to encourage people to not only look after themselves over the winter period, but also to pledge to help others, where possible. To do this you can:
- get your flu jab (free to those more at risk of developing serious illness from the flu), and ensure that eligible friends and family members do the same
- stock up your medicine cabinet, including repeat prescriptions
- keep warm and eat well
- visit a GP or pharmacist at the first signs of illness, to avoid becoming more poorly later on
- keep an eye on family, friends and neighbours, particularly those with long-term health conditions, or those who are more vulnerable. This can include offering to get groceries or pick up prescriptions, if needed
- check local NHS websites and social media to remain aware of what services are open during the bank holidays.
Dr Claire Fuller, Clinical Chair at Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group, explains:
“As a GP I see the effects of winter first hand. For people with respiratory conditions and for those living with other long-term illnesses, it can be a particularly difficult time, because these individuals can more vulnerable and more prone to complications. We usually see an increase in the number of people admitted to hospital during the winter months, so if people do feel unwell it’s really important they seek help early on, before it gets more serious. Pharmacists, GPs, practice nurses and the NHS 111 service can all give health advice and help with treatment, so if people are feeling poorly, there is a wide range of support available.
For further seasonal advice, a signposting toolkit is available for front link staff to suport the winter campaign.