We all know that winter is a difficult time for the health system across England, and Suffolk is no exception. With increasing numbers of people who are living better for longer, there are more people with several long term conditions.
Suffolk Health and Wellbeing and the NHS has advice and information about services available in your area, together with various things you can do, or help someone you care for to do, to ensure that you don’t get caught out this winter:
- Be weather aware – Cold temperatures have an impact on our health, but there are other risks in winter including physical injuries from slips, trips and falls. You can check the latest weather forecast here.
- Keep your home warm – By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18° – 21°C or 64°- 70°F) you can keep you well, especially avoiding chest infections. If you have a disability, are over 65 or live with children aged under 5 there is free advice on heating your home. The Warm Homes Healthy People service has information on helping older and vulnerable people keep warm in winter and can help accessing winter fuel payments. Call 03456 037 686, their local rate number, for free advice on heating your home.
- Be prepared – stock up with cold remedies, pain killers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, stave off upset stomachs with anti-diarrhoea and rehydration mixtures, and keep plasters and bandages on hand for any cuts or scrapes.
- Get a flu vaccination – it will keep you from having a long recovery from this nasty illness, so book an appointment to get one if you haven’t already. People aged 65 or over, or have a long-term health condition or are pregnant are entitled to a free jab.
- Seek help from your pharmacist – they are qualified health professionals who can advise on everything from a cold to long-term conditions. This is often the best and quickest way to get well. Your pharmacist will let you know if a GP appointment is required. Pharmacies are one of the most accessible sources of advice, with many open long hours incl. evenings and weekends.
- Eat well and drink at least eight cups of fluids a day – it keeps your brain and body working well.
- Wash your hands thoroughly – for the time it takes you to sing happy birthday through twice, use hot water and soap to wash away all kinds of viruses from colds and diarrhoea to so much more.
- Not feeling well – If you are unsure if you need urgent or emergency care, please call NHS 111 – trained professionals are on hand to guide you.
- Beat the winter blues – talk to someone. Talk about your anxieties with someone else, a friend, relative or a group such as the Samaritans. Talking about the things that are worrying you can make a big difference. It is easy to get help from the Suffolk Wellbeing Service too. This is a free NHS service, suitable for people aged 16 + living in Suffolk. You can phone them on 0300 123 1781 or refer yourself via their website.
Do you have any Elderly and Vulnerable Neighbours?
- they are not alone all the time
- they are warm enough
- they have plenty of food
- they have sufficient medication
- their paths are clear of snow and ice
- and if they can use the internet, that they know where to look for information and support