Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or older, and people with long-term conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, diabetes or heart or kidney disease.
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.
Feeling unwell? Don’t wait – get advice from your nearest pharmacist
At the first sign of a winter illness, even if it’s just a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist, before it gets more serious. Act quickly.
The sooner you get advice from a pharmacist the better. Pharmacists are fully qualified to advise you on the best course of action.
This can be the best and quickest way to help you recover and get back to normal.
If you can’t get to a pharmacist yourself, ask someone to go for you or call your local pharmacy.
Have you had your flu jab?
The best way to protect yourself and your family is to get the flu jab. If you are in a risk group, are pregnant or aged over 65 or over, it is really important to get vaccinated; contact your GP surgery and make an appointment.
The flu virus strikes in winter and it can be far more serious than you think. Flu can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and it can be deadly.
That’s why the flu jab is free if you’re aged 65 or over, or if you have a long-term health condition.
If you have children or grandchildren aged two, three or four, or in school years one, two and three, they are eligible for a free flu vaccination.
And if you are the main carer of an older or disabled person you may also be eligible for the free flu jab. Just speak to your GP or pharmacist.
Also, don’t forget that if you’re aged 65 or over, you are eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, which will help protect you from pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia.
For more information on staying well this winter visit nhs.uk/flujab.