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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.


Stay well this winter

You can get lots of help and advice on this winter from NHS Stay Well.

Flu

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 50
  • 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 2, 3 and 4 years old, and to children in school years 1 and 2.

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.

COVID-19

In addition to getting your free flu jab, you may also be eligible for a COVID-19 booster vaccine.

A coronavirus (COVID-19) booster vaccine dose helps improve the protection you have from your first 2 doses of the vaccine. It helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

Stay safe and well

As well as getting your free flu and COVID-19 vaccinations, there are lots of other 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 keep rooms at 18°C
  • 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

There's more advice on how to keep yourself and your home warm and well in winter.

Visit NHS Choices for more advice on keeping well in winter.

Joined Up Care Derbyshire also has lots of advice and help on how you can keep yourself, and others, healthy, warm and well this winter.

Getting help

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.

Visit NHS Stay Well to find out more about which health service you should be using.