Ask Dr Trisha...
How do I stay healthy this winter?
With tempting Christmas goods in the shops, many of us are already preparing for the festive season. But it’s not just presents, decorations and mince pies that we need to consider! It’s time to start planning for keeping you and your family warm and healthy throughout the cold weather and holiday period too. It’s also important not to forget about keeping an eye on older relatives, friends and neighbours – being ill in bed won’t be a great place to enjoy the celebrations!
Look out for the most vulnerable
3.5 million people aged 65+ live alone and nearly a third of older people never, or only occasionally, socialise with family or friends. Older neighbours, relatives, friends and other elderly members of the community are more vulnerable in the winter months and may need some extra help so make sure you keep in touch, check if they are feeling under the weather, help them stock up on food supplies and check they have necessary medications before the Christmas holidays start, or a spell of bad weather.
Get your home fit for winter
If you, or a friend or relative, have problems with heating or lighting now is the time to fix them. Check your heating and cooking appliances are safe, or ask your landlord to do so.
Set your central heating controls to make sure the temperature doesn’t drop below 18°C. You may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer. If you don’t have central heating, make sure you have plenty of warm clothes, blankets or a small heater to hand in whichever rooms you spend most of your time in. To find out whether you’re getting all the help, including financial assistance, you are entitled to, go to www.gov.uk/phe/keep-warm
Make sure your medicine cabinet is topped up
Have a supply of medications to help beat winter coughs and colds. GP surgeries and pharmacies are often shut over the Christmas holidays so talk to your pharmacist now, and get prepared. While you are there, make sure you have enough of the medicines you take regularly, especially if you have long term health conditions such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes or lung kidney disease. If you need to, order repeat prescriptions from your doctor.
Act fast if feeling unwell
If you develop a cough, mild fever or other early signs of a respiratory infection, try and get on top of symptoms quickly. Speak to your pharmacist – the sooner you get advice the better.