Kirklees Council and health partners including the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are working together to support a major drive by Public Health England and NHS England to help people ‘stay well this winter’.
The ‘stay well this winter campaign’ urges the public to:
- Keep warm – by heating their homes to least 18 degrees C or (65F) and drawing their curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts.
- Prepare for illnesses – by stocking up on any prescription medicines, taking prescribed medicines as directed and if feeling unwell seek help from a pharmacist, quickly, before it gets more serious, even if it’s just a cough or a cold.
- Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over winter.
The campaign also encourages people who are eligible to take advantage of their free flu vaccine. The vaccine is offered for free to those in groups at particular risk of infection and complications including; pregnant women, 2 to 4 year olds, under 65’s who are at risk due to a particular health condition, over 65’s or carers.
Even people who are normally quite mobile and self-sufficient should prepare for colder weather. Good ways to stay warm, safe and healthy this winter include: wearing several thin layers of clothing, taking regular hot meals and drinks, and moving around; stocking up on any medicines and having a good store of tinned, dry or frozen foods.
It is also a good idea to keep a list of emergency numbers including NHS 111, GP surgery, dentist and a local plumber, electrician and handyman and finding out if local shops and chemists will deliver to your home.
Carers can also benefit from planning ahead. If they don’t live near to the person they care for they could arrange an internet shop for them or ask a neighbour or friend to pop in if they can’t get there.
As the darker nights draw in it is worth trying and keep to well-lit areas, stay alert and avoid using expensive items like ipods and mobile phones when out in the open. To reduce the risk of burglary doors and windows should be kept locked. More advice can be found at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/burglary
Up to date with weather, school closures and gritting action can be found online at www.kirklees.gov.uk/winter or by following @kirkleeswinter.
Cllr Viv Kendrick, Kirklees Council, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “We know that treacherous conditions during the winter months can mean many people, particularly the elderly and frail, are unable to get out and buy food or pick up medication and for some, there are no family or friends nearby who could help.
“With this in mind, we’re asking people to look out for their vulnerable neighbours – to call in and say hello and to check if they need anything. Older people can sometimes go days without seeing or talking to anyone, and we can all do our bit to help. A friendly face of someone they know can make all the difference.
“We have an emergency adverse weather number which people can call in an emergency in bad weather, and have contingency plans in place to identify friends, relatives and neighbours who may be available to help us keep people safe, warm and fed. It’s amazing the difference we can make when we all pull together in our communities to help those most vulnerable in the bad weather”.
Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG added “Winter is an extremely busy time of year for NHS services, so we want to remind people that if they are ill to use the right services.
“Make sure you have plenty of medical supplies in the house, for example some simple pain-killers, a paediatric paracetamol mixture for children and an adequate supply of any regular medications you or your family are being prescribed by your doctor.
“Remember, your local pharmacy can give advice on a wide range of conditions and can help. For simple accidents like sprains, you don’t always need to go to your GP practice.”
Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Clinical Leader, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said “If you catch a cold this winter, or are unfortunate enough to get the flu, it’s important to know how to look after yourself. Get plenty of rest, eat well and keep well hydrated.
“Colds and flu are caused by viruses so in most cases, antibiotics can’t help. You can buy effective over-the-counter medicines from your local pharmacy where you’ll also get advice on how best to manage your symptoms.
“If you do need medical help but it’s not an emergency, please remember that you can ring NHS 111 for advice 24/7.”