Cold weather can lead to very serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes or pneumonia, and sometimes the cold weather can even kill – especially if you have a long-term health condition or are 65 or over. The following information should help you to stay well during the winter.
The annual flu vaccine can help reduce your risk of getting flu each year. The vaccine is available for free on the NHS for:
- anyone aged 65 and over
- pregnant women
- children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or lung disease)
- children and adults with weakened immune systems
- children two and three years of age – that is, born between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2015
- children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3 and 4 – that is, born between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2013.
Find out more about the flu vaccination on the NHS Stay Well This Winter website which also contains more advice about being prepared for the winter weather.
The NHS Winter health guide contains further advice to help you stay healthy during winter including healthy eating, exercise and how you can help the elderly in your community.
Keeping warm and well
NHS Choices and Age UK both provide guides offering advice on how to stay healthy, safe and as comfortable as possible in winter. Both guides are available below:
Help with heating costs
LEAP (Local Energy Advice Programme) is a new free energy and money saving advice service. LEAP can help you to save money and to keep your home warm. Find out more about who is eligible for the service and apply at www.applyforleap.org.uk.
Information about the various benefits available to help with heating your home can be found at GOV.UK – heating and housing benefits.
Look out for each other
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. Try to 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 before a spell of bad weather.
If they’ve been prescribed medication, don’t forget to tell them to pick up their 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 or visit www.nhs.uk who can direct you to a local service that is open.
Visit the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG website to choose the right NHS service for you.