Suffolk Public Health and NHS tells us that last year winter was difficult for the health system across England, and Suffolk was no exception. For years health systems have seen increasing numbers of people who are living better for longer. This also means there are more people with several long term conditions.
There are a number of things you can do, or help someone you care for to do, to ensure that you don’t get caught out this winter:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Keep your home warm – By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18° – 21°C or 64°- 70°F) can keep you well, especially avoiding chest infections. If you have a disability, are over 65 or live with children aged under 5 ring this local rate number 03456 037 686 for free advice on heating your home
- 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
- their paths are clear of snow and ice
- they have plenty of food in
- they are warm enough
- they have sufficient medication to get through the holiday period
- if they can use the internet, that they know where to look for information and support
Further information and support
Visiting friends and family, or just venturing out, keep up to date with the latest road, rail and weather news.
- Check the weather reports before you travel.
- Suffolk County Council has lots of information about how they plan to keep public highways safe and usable in winter.
- Be aware of possible travel disruption due to planned roadworks and road closures.
- There could also be disruptions to rail services, so check how the network is running.
- Suffolk Police has lots of advice and tips on home and personal security.
- Check your smoke alarms – Don’t forget to check each one regularly to ensure that your smoke alarms are all in working order.