Keep you and your family well this winter
It is important to stay well this winter and avoid unnecessary visits to hospital. The cold, wet and snowy weather that comes during the winter months can be particularly difficult for pregnant people, children under the age of seven and older people living with long term conditions such as COPD, arthritis and diabetes. GPs in Lewisham are supporting a new national NHS campaign to highlight what you can do to stay well this winter.
The NHS campaign, Stay Well This Winter, urges people aged over 65 and those with long-term conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or respiratory illness, to protect themselves against the cold weather with advice on how to ward off common illnesses and avoid a visit to hospital.
NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging you this winter to:
- Keep yourself warm - heat your home to least 18 degrees C or (65F) if you can
- If you start to feel unwell, even if it's just a cough or a cold, then get help from your pharmacist quickly before it gets more serious
- Make sure you get your prescription medicines before pharmacies close on Christmas Eve.
- Always take your prescribed medicines as directed
- Get your free flu jab if you are eligible for one – don't forget that you can get this at pharmacies as well as from your GP
- Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over winter.
Dr Marc Rowland, a local GP and chair of NHS Lewisham CCG, said that there are a range of health problems associated with winter weather and cold housing.
"It is essential to keep yourself warm as the weather gets colder, both indoors and outdoors, and this is especially the case for the very young, older people or those with a chronic illness," he said.
"Keep your home warm, wear several layers of clothes as they trap warm air better than one bulky layer and keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights.
"If you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, don't wait for it to get worse but seek immediate advice from your pharmacist. The sooner you get help the better."
The elderly compose the largest group admitted to hospital over winter and Dr Rowland urges people to look out for their older neighbours.
"Older neighbours, relatives and friends may need a bit of extra help so make sure you keep in touch and check if they are feeling under the weather," he said.
"Check their food supplies are stocked up and make sure they have the necessary medication before Christmas Eve or a spell of bad weather."
Helpful tips to help you and your family stay well this winter can be found at http://www.nhs.uk/staywell
To make sure you're receiving all the help you're entitled to in terms of making your home more energy efficient, improving your heating and keeping up with your energy bills visit www.gov.uk/phe/keep-warmIf you do need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk to be directed to a local service that is open.