Have you thought about your winter health plan?
NHS partners in Norfolk and Waveney, together with local councils and volunteer organisations, are encouraging people to have a personal winter plan so they are well prepared when the weather takes a turn for the worse and the season for flu, coughs and colds really kicks in.
A winter plan is a sensible way to stay well.
Dr Dustyn Saint, GP at Long Stratton Medical Practice said: “As winter begins and Christmas approaches many people are beginning to plan for their Christmas meal and their Christmas shopping but we are urging people to plan for themselves and their family and neighbours too so that they know what they can do to keep as well as possible, what they can do if they start to feel unwell and how they can look after older family members, friends or neighbours who might need some help.
“Winter illnesses can be headed off by taking action early, so making sure you are stocked up at home with basic cold and flu medication. Or you can visit your local pharmacist for advice and the right medicines. And NHS 111 will provide advice on the most appropriate place to go for treatment if you don’t feel well.
“Obviously there will be times when people become seriously unwell and hospital is the right place for them to be. But by taking a few simple steps and putting together your winter plan you may help yourself avoid admission to hospital.”
Personal winter plans should include:
Having a free flu vaccination if you are in an ‘at risk’ group
Getting help early before your condition worsens.
Getting repeat prescriptions in plenty of time
Seeking advice from your local, pharmacist
Making sure you are aware of the 111 service and have the number to hand
Finding out where your local walk in centre and minor injuries unit is
Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet
Stocking up on winter food supplies
Getting your boiler serviced
Keeping your home heated to 18C
Having a list of emergency phone numbers handy by your phone
Keeping an eye on elderly or frail friends, neighbours and relative
A flu vaccine is available for free on the NHS for the following:
Patients aged from six months to 65 years in clinical ‘at risk’ groups (see below)
People aged 65 years and over
All children aged two to nine (but not 10 years or older) on 31 August 2018
All other children with a health condition that puts them at greater risk from flu
People in long-stay residential care homes
At risk conditions:
The free flu vaccine is available to patients who have one of the following conditions: a heart problem, a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma, kidney disease, lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment), liver disease, had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), diabetes, neurological condition e.g. multiple sclerosis (MS), morbid obesity (BMI over 40), cerebral palsy or learning disability.
Public Health England has also published the ‘Keep Warm Keep Well’ leaflet which provides advice on staying well in cold weather and covers issues such as financial help, healthy lifestyle, flu jabs and heating – www.gov.uk/government/publications/keep-warm-keep-well-leaflet-gives-advice-on-staying-healthy-in-cold-weather
The Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership brings together NHS and local authorities, working to improve care and services for local people. It is more formally known as the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP)