Staying well in winter
Cold weather can seriously endanger your health if you're an older or vulnerable person. But there are things you can do protect yourself and stay well this winter.
A national campaign has been launched to give help and advice on staying safe and well this winter.
The Stay Well This Winter campaign aims to help people with long-term health conditions, those over 65, pregnant women and parents of under-sevens stay well and keep their loved ones well this winter.
It covers the free flu vaccination, self-help advice and where to go for treatment if you're feeling unwell.
You can get lots of help and advice on this winter (opens in a new window) on the new NHS Stay Well website.
Flu is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes. It can be very unpleasant, but you'll usually begin to feel better within about a week.
However, if you're an older, have a chronic long term health condition, or are pregnant then flu can be far more serious. It can lead to serious health complications or even death.
A flu vaccine is available for free on the NHS for:
- anyone over the age of 65
- pregnant women
- anyone who is very overweight (with a body mass index over 40)
- children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or lung disease)
- children and adults with weakened immune systems.
An annual flu vaccine nasal spray is also now offered to healthy children aged two, three and four years old, and to children in school years one and two.
The best time to have the vaccine is in the autumn, between September and early November. If you think you might need it, contact your local GP surgery.
Find out more about how to get your free jab (opens in a new window)
Stay safe and well
As well as getting your free flu jab there are lots of ways to make sure you're staying safe and well this winter:
If you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, you should get immediate advice and help from your pharmacist before it becomes more serious.
Make sure you get your prescription medicines before 24 December and don't forget to finish any course of medication.
Restock your cupboards with enough food and medication to keep you going while the shops are closed.
Try to keep as warm as you can and if possible keeps rooms at 18C.
Eat well in winter. Food is a vital source of energy, which helps keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can.
Help your neighbours in winter. Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they're safe and well.
For more advice on keeping well in winter (opens in a new window) visit NHS Choices.
If you're feeling unwell and you're not sure which NHS service you need, tel: 111.
An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you straightaway to the best service for you in your area.
Find out more about which health service you should be using (opens in a new window) at the NHS Stay Well website.
The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)
- Stay Well This Winter (839KB)
- Why have the flu vaccination (550KB)
- All about flu and how to stop getting it (127KB)
- Protecting your child against flu (440KB)
- Five reasons to protect your child against flu (388KB)
- Is your child in school years one, two or three? Help protect them from flu (2320KB)
- Flu vaccination for children in school years one and two (1712KB)
- Is your child aged two, three or four? Help protect them from Flu (2835KB)
- Flu vaccination for children aged two, three and four (1424KB)
- If you're pregnant, you need a flu jab now (3555KB)
- Pregnancy flu vaccination (3116KB)