There’s no denying it, winter is almost upon us. During the months that lie ahead, it’s important that we look after ourselves, our loved ones and also those in our local community if we can.
The winter weather will mean many of us will be spending more time indoors, using our tablets, computers, mobiles and watching television. But we’re all in this together! So to help, we’ve put together some handy tips on how to stay healthy this winter, including how to keep warm, what vaccinations you may be entitled to so that you can keep safe and how to look after your eyes.
Cold weather and feeling cold increases pressure on our heart and circulation. This can increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks and hypothermia.
You are more at risk from the cold during the winter if:
Depending on your risk, you may be offered some or all the vaccinations on the NHS. Contact your GP surgery for more information if you are unsure.
Many people will be or will have already been offered a COVID-19 booster vaccination. If you haven’t had any COVID-19 vaccinations and would now like one, contact your GP surgery, visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or contact the call centre by phoning 119.
You can have a free annual flu vaccination if:
There are other criteria that you may meet to be eligible for a free flu vaccine. Visit the NHS website to find out more. If you are not eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can purchase one for between £8 – £15 depending on which pharmacy you go to.
This will help prevent pneumonia and is usually a one-off vaccine.
You qualify for it if:
This is a one-off vaccine given to people aged 70-79.
Move around and exercise as much as you are able, as this will help you to stay warm. It will also help with your heart and circulation. If sitting for long periods, try to move around every hour, no matter how little the activity.
This is a big worry for many people and even more so now fuel prices have increased. Remember to check that you have received your Winter Fuel Payment or Cold Weather Payment, if you are eligible. Here are few more tips to keep warm at home:
Due to the pandemic, we have all got into good habits with our hand hygiene over the last couple of years. Don’t let this slip. Make sure you continue washing your hands regularly with soap and water, as this is going to help reduce bacterial and viral infections. Consider wearing a mask in crowded places and use antibacterial gel when you are out, as this will also help to reduce spreading and catching infections.
It’s a good idea to stock your cupboards with essentials and foods, such as soups. Having a supply of mild pain medication, anti-inflammatories and cold remedies is also a good idea in case the weather gets bad or you don’t feel well enough to go out.
Consider ordering and having your repeat prescriptions delivered to you by your pharmacy.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and neighbours if you need it. They will be more than happy to help if they can. On the other hand, check on elderly relatives and neighbours if you can, to see if you can help them in any way.
When the weather is cold and windy, and the central heating is on, this can cause our eyes to become dry. You may also be staying indoors more, watching television, tablets or mobiles. To help with your eyes feeling dry, try to be conscious of blinking more regularly, as it has been proven that we blink less when looking at a screen. Don’t forget the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
And remember to make sure you have enough artificial dry eye drops at home.
If you have any concerns about your eyes and need support, our friendly helpline team are on hand to help on 01233 64 81 70. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.00pm, or you can email email@example.com
Alternatively, you may wish to contact the following services:
Some of the information sourced for this article came from information on the NHS and Age UK websites. For further information, visit www.nhs.uk/live-well and www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/keep-well-this-winter/stay-healthy-in-winter/