The NHS has made changes to how they provide care to make it safer for you during the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re worried about your health, don’t delay – help us help you get the care you need this winter. Read the NHS We’re here to help you stay well this winter leaflet to find out more.
Winter conditions can be bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or older, and people with long-term conditions such as heart or kidney disease, COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma or diabetes. Being cold can raise the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses. But there are lots of things you can do to stay well this winter.
As well as being aware of the latest coronavirus information, having your flu jab, and knowing your options for urgent care, there are other ways we encourage you to look after yourself over the winter months. These include:
- It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months 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). You might prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer.
- Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights. Breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections.
- Keep active when you’re indoors. Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so.
- Wear several layers of light clothes. Several layers trap warm air better than one bulky layer.
- Make sure you’re receiving all the help that you’re entitled to. There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. Visit the Simple Energy Advice Website and GOV.uk for further information.
- And check your heating and cooking appliances are safe. Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they’re operating properly.
Many of us are having to spend more time at home which can make it harder to keep active. It’s important to continue to do what you can to help with your physical and mental health.
There’s strong evidence that people who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia. Regular exercise can also reduce the risk of falling and can be beneficial for recovery if you do get ill.
Try to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down during the day. Break up your time spent being inactive by walking around your home or standing up from your chair during TV advert breaks or when you’re on the phone.
There are many activities you could do at home, such as walking up and down stairs, dancing, gardening, housework, or taking part in online fitness classes.
It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s something you enjoy and keeps you moving. Don’t do anything that doesn’t feel comfortable and trust your instincts about your own limits. Stop if you are feeling any pain or lightheaded and stay hydrated.
For tips on keeping active have a look through the NHS Keep Active pages.
Mental health support
We all feel down from time to time, no matter our age. But if you’ve not been feeling yourself for a while, talking therapy could help you feel better. There are a number of support services in place that you can access from your own home, including:
Make sure you get your prescription medicines before your pharmacy or GP practice closes for Christmas.
And, if you’ve been prescribed antibiotics or any other medication, make sure you take them as directed. Don’t go to a pharmacy if you have symptoms of
coronavirus or are self-isolating.
You can order prescriptions via GP or pharmacy websites and apps or by calling them. Ask a friend, relative or volunteer to collect medicines for you.
You can also order your repeat prescriptions via the NHS App, as well as make GP appointments. The NHS App is available on the App Store and on Google Play.
For more information visit the NHS App website.