Date: 11 December 2017
Cold weather can be very harmful, especially for people aged 65 or older: it weakens the immune system, increases blood pressure, thickens the blood and lowers body temperature, increasing risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections. For those with long-term conditions such as bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes or heart and kidney problems, cold weather and winter illnesses such as flu, can make health problems far worse.
There are a number of things which can help you prepare against the
• It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. Heat your home to at least 18°C(65°F), if you can; you might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer.
• At the first sign of a cough or a cold get help from your pharmacist before it gets more serious. You should also speak to your pharmacist about medicines you should have in
stock to help get you and your family through the winter season.
• Make sure you pick up prescription medications before the Christmas holidays start, as many GPs and pharmacies will close.
• The free flu vaccination is particularly important for those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu. These include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with longterm health conditions like COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, heart and kidney disease, or those who have suffered a stroke. Check if you are eligible at www.nhs.uk/staywell. If you’re eligible for the free flu vaccine, get it now. It’s free because you need it.
If you do need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk
The Stay Well This Winter campaign can help you and your family prepare for winter. Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell for more information.