Stay Well This Winter

Help Us Help You: Stay Well This Winter

Winter can be challenging and as the days get colder and bugs and illnesses become more common, it’s important to take care of your health. Together with our health and local authority partners, we’ve put together lots of advice and tips to help you and your family stay well this winter.

  • If you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious – get help from your pharmacist. The sooner you get advice the better – pharmacists are here to help you stay well this winter.
  • If you have a long-term health condition like COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, heart or kidney disease, or have suffered a stroke; cold weather can make health problems like these much worse. If you start to feel unwell, at the first signs of winter respiratory illness, even if it’s just a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist, before it gets more serious.
  • If you’ve been prescribed medication, don’t forget to pick up your prescription before the Christmas holidays start. Many GPs and pharmacies will close over the holidays.
  • If you do need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 to get the right medical attention urgently or visit www.nhs.uk which can direct you to a local service that is open
  • Older neighbours, relatives, friends and other elderly members of the community are more vulnerable in the winter months and may need a bit of extra help this winter, so make sure you keep in touch, check if they are feeling under the weather, help them stock up on food supplies and make sure they have the necessary medication before the Christmas holidays start or a spell of bad weather.

Cold weather

  • Cold weather can be very harmful, especially for people aged 65 or older: it weakens the immune system, increases blood pressure, thickens the blood, and lowers body temperature; increasing the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections.
  • It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes pneumonia and depression.
  • Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F), if you can – you might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer.
  • Keep an eye out for elderly relatives and neighbours, and support them in the cold weather to help them Stay Well This Winter.

Visit nhs.uk/staywell for more helpful tips and advice.


Protecting against flu

The flu virus occurs every year, usually in the winter, which is why it’s sometimes called seasonal flu and it can be far more serious than you think. It’s a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly.

To reduce the risk of spreading flu, use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often with warm water and soap, and bin used tissues as quickly as possible. Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.

The best way to avoid catching and spreading flu is by protecting yourself against flu with the flu vaccination.  

Those aged over 65, pregnant women, carers and people with a long-term
condition can receive a free flu jab from their GP surgery or pharmacist.

Find out more on our Flu Vaccination campaign page


Accessing the right healthcare services

If you become unwell or are injured, it’s important to choose the right NHS service to make sure you get the best treatment as quickly as possible. In Wiltshire, there are numerous ways to access health care advice and treatment, click on the links below to find out more.

Self care
  • First point of call for any minor illness or injury
  • Start tackling your symptoms straight away
  • Can help free up GP appointments

Learn more about self care

 
NHS Choices
  • The UK’S biggest health website
  • Lots of information and advice to support your self care
  • Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year  

Learn more about NHS Choices

NHS 111
  • A free non-emergency phone service
  • Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • Trained call handlers will listen to your symptoms and direct you to the best medical care for you

Learn more about NHS 111

 
Pharmacy
  • Experts in medicines
  • Can provide advice on a number of common ailments
  • A visit to your local pharmacy could stop a minor illness getting worse and prevent you needing to go to your GP

Learn more about pharmacy services

Walk-in centre
  • Treats non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses such as bites, sprains, stomach upsets and coughs
  • Run by experienced clinicians on a first come, first served basis – you don’t need to book an appointment

Learn more about walk-in centres

 
Minor Injury Units (MIUs)
  • Treats non-life-threatening injuries such as bites, sprains, infections and broken bones
  • Run by experienced nurses on a first come, first served basis – you don’t need to book an appointment
  • Cannot treat minor illnesses

Learn more about MIUs

GP and GP out of hours service
  • Treats conditions that can’t be treated with self care, over the counter medications or advice from a pharmacy
  • Deals with a range of health problems 
  • The GP out of hours service is available when your GP surgery is closed

Learn more about GP services

 
A&E
  • Only use an A&E service in very serious or
    life-threatening situations such as stroke, severe bleeding, heart attack, severe head injury or fits that do not stop
  • Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Learn more about A&E