STAY WELL THIS WINTER
Winter Safety – Top Health Tips
1. Flu and the Flu vaccine
2. Keep Warm, Keep Well
3. Staying well in very cold weather
4. Coping with the common winter illnesses
Flu and the Flu Vaccine
Flu is a serious illness which spreads easily and could put you in hospital.
For most healthy people, having the flu usually means spending a few days in bed with fever, chills, headaches and aches and pains in the joints. However, people who are more susceptible to the effects of flu can end up with serious infections like bronchitis and pneumonia.
The best way to prevent getting flu is to have the flu vaccine. This gives good protection against the flu and lasts for 1 year.
The flu vaccine is routinely given on the NHS to:
- adults 65 and over (including adults over 18 at risk of flu)
- pregnant women
- children aged 2 and 3
- children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
- children aged 2 to 17 years at risk of flu
For 2018, there are 3 types of flu vaccine:
- a live quadrivalent vaccine (which protects against 4 strains of flu), given as a nasal spray. This is for children and young people aged 2 to 17 years eligible for the flu vaccine
- a quadrivalent injected vaccine. This is for adults aged 18 and over but below the age of 65 who are at increased risk from flu because of a long-term health condition and for children 6 months and above in an eligible group who cannot receive the live vaccine
- an adjuvanted trivalent injected vaccine. This is for people aged 65 and over as it has been shown to be more effective in this age group
- If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years old and is in a high-risk group for flu, they will be offered an injected flu vaccine as the nasal spray is not licensed for children under 2.
Talk to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist for more information about these vaccines. Find out more about who should have the flu vaccine.
Carers - Top five flu facts for carers:
|If you are the main carer for someone with a long-term health condition or disability, you are eligible for a FREE flu vaccination||You can have your flu vaccine at your GP surgery or a participating pharmacy||As long as you’re a carer, there is no age restriction for having this vaccine|
|You cannot catch flu from the vaccine – it doesn’t contain any live viruses||Get vaccinated every winter to make sure you are protected against new flu viruses|
Keep Warm, Keep Well
Cold homes have a significant impact on people’s health. With 24,000 older people dying in England and Wales as a result of cold weather every winter, it is vital that we’re all aware of the effects of cold weather on health.
One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm. Keeping warm can prevent colds, flu and more serious illness such as pneumonia and depression.
The chances of developing these problems are higher if you are vulnerable to cold-related illnesses because of one or more of:
- Being over 65
- Being on a low income (can’t afford heating)
- Having a long term health condition – heart, lung or kidney disease
- You are disabled
|The NHS Choices website has lots of information on winter health and the importance of staying warm|
Keeping your home warm
You should heat your home to at least 18c if you are over 65, have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, or have reduced mobility. You should also wear layers of clothes to stay warm.
More information from Public Health England’s leaflet ‘Keep Well Keep Warm’ click here
Cold weather support available: B&NES Energy at Home Service
You may be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home. Speak to a friendly advisor at B&NES energy at home advice service to find out more.
Call 0800 038 5680 email email@example.com or visit their website www.energyathome.org.uk If you are a health or social care professional you can refer a client by calling or emailing on their behalf or by filling in a quick referral form on the website.
The service offers:
The following options may be available to you:
- Grants or loans to help improve the heating and energy efficiency of your home, which can fully fund or part fund works according to the circumstances of your household
- Winter fuel payments – a one off payment of between £100 and £300 if you were born on or before 5th November 1953
- Cold weather payments – for those on certain benefits. When local temperature is 0°C or below for 7 consecutive days between November and March, a £25 payment is made for each spell
Very Cold Weather
Follow these steps from the NHS Choices website to keep yourself and relatives safe in very cold weather:
- Have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day
- Wear several layers of warm clothes rather than one thick layer
- Stay active – try not to sit still for more than an hour or so indoors. Get up and stretch your legs
- Heat your home to at least 18c (including your bedroom at night) if you have reduced mobility, are over 65 or have a chronic health condition
- Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but don't use both at the same time
- If you start to feel unwell, even if it's a cough or cold, don't wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.
Look in on vulnerable neighbours and relatives
Cold weather is more dangerous for the elderly and vulnerable, so check on them regularly when possible. If you're worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact the council’s social services team on 01225 396000 or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8am-7pm every day).
If you're concerned that the person may be suffering from hypothermia, contact NHS 111.
Advice for health care and social care professionals
Public Health England produces the national cold weather plan each year which raises the public’s awareness of the harm to health from cold, and provides guidance on how to prepare for and respond to cold weather. It triggers actions in the NHS, public health, social care and other community organisations, to support vulnerable people who have health, housing or economic circumstances that increase their risk of harm.
Cold weather Alert Service
Alerts are issued by the Met Office and communicated via weather forecasts on TV, radio and via their Twitter feed. The alerts are also sent directly to social and healthcare services in England, and Age UK. You can find out more about the Met Office’s Get Ready for Winter Campaign.
Coping with Common Winter Illnesses
You can find advice from NHS Choices here on coping with 10 of the most common or important winter illnesses:
- Sore Throat
- Painful Joints
- Cold Sores
- Heart Attacks
- Cold Hands and Feet
- Dry Skin
If you’re feeling unwell and need advice, even if it's a cough or cold, don't wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.
New app for parents: HANDi App
Approved by paediatric consultants at the Royal United Hospital and endorsed by local GPs
HANDi app provides straightforward expert advice for parents on how best to manage the six most common childhood illnesses:
The app can be downloaded for free: