Stay Well This Winter – advice for people with with long-term conditions and those over 65

NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Kirklees Council are supporting the 2016/17 Stay Well This Winter campaign.

The Stay Well This Winter campaign is a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England and the current phase of the campaign focuses on helping people with long-term conditions and those over 65 prepare for winter and ward off common winter illnesses.

Cold weather can be very harmful, especially for people age 65 or older: it weakens the immune system, increases blood pressure, thickens the blood and lowers body temperature, increasing risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections. For those with COPD; bronchitis, emphysema; diabetes or heart and kidney, cold weather, and winter illnesses such as flu, can make health problems like these far worse.

There are a number of things which can help people prepare against the cold weather.

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.

Find out whether you’re entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment

Cllr Viv Kendrick, Kirklees Council, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “It’s advisable to prepare for colder weather, even if you’re normally quite mobile and self-sufficient. Some good ways to stay warm 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.”

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “At the first sign of a cough or a cold get help from your pharmacist before it gets more serious and make sure you speak to your pharmacist about medicines you should have in stock to help get you and your family through the winter season. Make sure you pick up prescription medications before the Christmas holidays start, as many GPs and pharmacies will close over the holidays.”

Dr Steve Ollerton local GP and Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG: “The free flu vaccination is particularly important for those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu. These include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with long-term health conditions like COPD; bronchitis, emphysema; diabetes; heart and kidney disease, or those who have suffered a stroke. Check if you are eligible here www.nhs.uk/staywell “.

If you are pregnant flu can cause serious complications for you and your baby – you could both get seriously ill. Vaccination is the safest way to help protect you and your baby against flu. So don’t put it off, ask your GP, pharmacist or midwife about the free flu jab today. It’s free because you need it, however many months pregnant you are and however fit and healthy you might feel.

For children aged 2, 3 and 4, the flu vaccine is not an injection, just a quick nasal spray available through your GP. This year children in school years 1, 2 and 3 are also eligible for the nasal spray administered at school in most parts of the country and via GP surgeries in some areas.

If you’re eligible for the free flu vaccine, get it now. It’s free because you need it.

If you do need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk . The Stay Well This Winter campaign can help you and your family prepare for winter. Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell for more information.

Ends.

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