By being cold you can raise the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. But there are lots of things you can do to stay well this winter.

  • Make sure you have your flu jab. The flu jab is free if you’re aged 65 or over, or if you have a long-term health condition. If you have children or grandchildren aged two, three or four, or in school years one, two or three, they are eligible for a free flu vaccination. Don’t forget that if you’re aged 65 or over, you are eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, which will help protect you from pneumococcal diseases such as pneumonia.
  • Keep active when you are indoors. Tempting though it is to curl up and not do much, try not to sit still for more than an hour or so. Find out ways to get active.
  • Look after yourself. Eating well can help improve well-being, manage weight and reduce the risk of developing illnesses and diseases. Food is also a vital source of energy, which helps keep the body warm. If you are feeling a little low and blue, seek some help. Reading Well is a collection of self-help books available through your library to improve mental wellbeing.
  • Get help early. If you are feeling unwell, don't wait, go and see your nearest pharmacist. So, at the first sign, if you feel like you’re coming down with something, even if it’s just a cough or a cold, don’t wait until it gets worse. Act quickly. The sooner you get advice from a pharmacist the better.
  • Look out for others. Remember that other people, like older neighbours, friends and family members, may need a bit of extra help over the winter. There’s a lot you can do to help people who are more frail than you. Make sure they’re stocked up with enough food supplies for a few days, in case they can’t go out. If they do need to go out in the cold, encourage them to wear shoes with a good grip and a scarf around the mouth to protect them from the cold air, and to reduce their risk of chest infections.
  • Is your medicine cabinet ready for winter? Your pharmacist can advise you on which medicines you should have in your cabinet, to help get you and your family through the winter season. Most winter illnesses can't be treated by antibiotics. The best thing to do is:
    • Rest
    • Drink plenty of fluids
    • Have at least one hot meal a day to keep your energy levels up
    • Talk to your pharmacist for advice on getting any pain relief you need such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

    NHS 111 service

    111 is the NHS non-emergency number. It's fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals.

    You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation.

    Call 111 if:

  • you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way. For more information click here.