Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or over, and people with long-term conditions.
Cold weather doesn't have to go hand in hand with illness. Here are some simple things you can do to help yourself stay well this winter:
- Don’t get caught out – keep up to date with the weather forecast.The Met Office also has advice to help you Get Ready for Winter.
- Heat your home to at least 18oC (65oF) – You might want your main living room to be slightly warmer.
- Hot drinks and food – Have plenty of hot drinks and a hot meal every day
- Remember to layer up – by wearing layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer, you will trap heat better to keep warmer
- Wrap up on the sofa – when sitting for long periods of time wrap a blanket around you
- Keep active when indoors – Try not to sit still for more than an hour at a time. Even whilst sitting you can move your arms and legs or wiggle your fingers and toes
- Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights – breathing in cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections and asthma complications
- Protect yourself from flu – If you’re entitled to a flu jab make sure you have it
- Make sure you’re receiving all the help that you’re entitled to – Learn how to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating and keep up with your energy bills at www.gov.uk/phe/keep-warm
- And check your heating and cooking appliances are safe – Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they’re operating properly. Visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk
- Arrange a free visit form Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service to check your fire alarms, bedding and provide you with a tailored information pack. (Visits to vulnerable people only)
Mental Health tips
Here are some tips and advice to help you stay mentally well this winter. Whilst they are great reminders to pass onto our patients and service users, they are also important to remember for ourselves too.
Christmas shopping and financial woes
Christmas shopping - some people love it, a lot of people dread it. Leaving it all to the last minute can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety, so make sure you plan ahead as much as possible. If you're worried about not having the funds this winter, there are some great tips and advice on the Money Saving Experts website.
Don't over indulge
We all look forward to a bit of indulgence over the Christmas period, but its important that we understand our limits. Alcohol is a depressant and if you do drink too much, it can cause low moods and potentially aggressive behaviour. Eating too much food can leave us feeling lethargic and moody.
Regular exercise releases endorphins - feel good chemicals which make us feel happy and boost our immune system. Take a walk on your lunch break or join an exercise class to suit you.
Getting seven or eight hours sleep a night is known to have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing. It's easy to get caught up in the festivities, but it is important to get a good nights sleep. There are apps to help monitor your sleep, relaxtion exercises can help you wind down at the end of the day and the Mental Health Foundation also has some relaxation podcasts which could help.
Stay in touch
Maintaining our communication with others is vitally important to our mental wellbeing. Make a effort to catch up with people over a cuppa.
Getting help and advice
It is important to know where to go if you need support this winter:
Self-care - there are a range of measures you can take to look after yourself. This can involve making sure you have a well-stocked medicine cupboard, resting at home or getting mental health advice from wellbeing hubs.
Pharmacists are highly qualified professionals who are able to support self-care by providing advice on the use and selection of over-the-counter medicines for managing minor ailments and common conditions.
GP advice - visits to a GP are free but you will need to make an appointment.
NHS Walk-in Centres/MIU, where qualified NHS nurses can offer a range of services from minor ailments and injuries to prescriptions for antibiotics to emergency contraception.
111 is a 24-hour telephone service, providing confidential health advice and information. You can also get mental health advice for people living in Hampshire and IOW.
Emergency departments or 999 provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies. If patients are not sure if they’re in an emergency, they should call 111 for advice.