With the temperature dropping (and Christmas only 53 days away!) we wanted to take a few minutes to make sure you have all of the information you need to stay well this winter.
1. Get your flu jab. If you are aged 65 or over, pregnant, have certain medical conditions, live in a residential or nursing home, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person then you are eligible for a free flu jab – just speak to your GP, or visit the Stay Well website for more.
2. Don’t make antibiotics your default, taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk. Check out the Keep Antibiotics Working campaign for more.
3. Wash your hands. Winter illnesses are easily spread. Wash both sides of the hands and between the fingers, use soap, and dry hands with a paper towel or clean dry towel.
4. Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to eat healthy foods like fresh vegetables. This helps to build your immune system.
5. Exercise, even if it’s just at home. Keeping active will make your body stronger, and keep you fit and able to ward off winter-illness
6. Keep warm by maintaining your heating at the right temperature – between 18°C/65°F (bedroom) and 21°C/70°F (living rooms) – so you can keep warm and keep your bills as low as possible. The Council has launched a new, not-for-profit energy company, RAM Energy, who could save money on your gas and electric bills.
7. Get financial support. There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to and to access these before the winter sets in. More advice about keeping your home warm is available on our Home Energy Advice Service
8. Look after yourself and check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they are safe, warm and well. Layer your clothing and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside.
9. Have your heating and cooking appliances checked. Carbon monoxide is a killer. Make sure that flues and chimneys are swept and checked for blockages and ventilation points are not blocked.
If you are not connected to gas or electricity mains, and use heating oil, LPG or wood products as the main heating source, make sure that you have sufficient supply to avoid running out in winter. You should also fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm which is EN 50291 compliant, but fitting an alarm should not replace regular maintenance of appliances.
10. If you feel unwell, visit your GP. Going to A&E should be a last resort rather than your first port-of-call. Please keep A&E free for genuine emergencies.