Help Us Help You - Stay Well this Winter

In winter, the number of A&E attendances increase substantially, putting an additional, but sometimes avoidable, burden on the NHS.

This winter, the ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign is encouraging the most vulnerable people in society – frail, older people and those with underlying health conditions – to take better care of their health as the colder months approach, by promoting self care and driving an uptake of pre-emptive health measures.

The public will be reminded about the need to visit their pharmacist at the first signs of illness, the importance of picking up prescriptions, staying warm over the winter months and checking in on elderly neighbours and relatives.

The ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign supports the public in navigating the right NHS service for their medical need, and understanding the actions they can take, to better enable the NHS to help them.

Help Us, Help You Stay Well This Winter.

There are lots of things you can do to stay well this winter, see here and below:

Follow our advice below to make sure you stay well this winter and help us, help you.

Keep Warm - this may help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia. 

Eat Well - food gives you energy, which helps to keep you warm. So, try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.

Get your flu vaccination - flu is serious and is different to the common cold. Symptoms include a high temperature, body aches and fatigue. Flu kills an average of 8,000 people every year.

The free flu vaccination is offered to those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu. These include people:

  • aged 65 and over
  • pregnant women
  • people with underlying health conditions
  • children (aged 2-9).

To find out more about who should get the flu jab and why click here

Don’t put off getting the flu vaccination. The vaccine is most effective if given in October and early November but can still be effective in December and January.

If you’re eligible, get your flu vaccination from your GP or pharmacy to protect yourself this winter. It’s free because you need it.

The flu vaccine is the best protection we have against unpredictable viruses. It is vital that those eligible have it every year as the vaccine protects against different strains of flu which can change each year.

For more information about staying well this Winter visit www.nhs.uk/staywell

Look after the the vulnerable and neighbours - the elderly may be more vulnerable to the common cold and winter illnesses and have a higher chance of developing complications, so, when checking on them, the first thing to do is make sure their homes are warm enough – at least 18°C (65F).

Checking they’ve got enough medication at home and whether they’ve been to see their pharmacist to stop any minor conditions getting worse is also very important.

You may also want to help your elderly relatives and neighbours if they have mobility issues by getting their shopping, so that they do not run out of the everyday essentials over the festive period.

Know what to do if you are unwell

The best treatment for most common winter illnesses like the flu, coughs and colds, aches and pains, or an upset stomach is usually self care.

If you are feeling unwell, the NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk) has really useful tips. If you’re in doubt about what to do, you can call NHS 111 for fast medical advice. NHS 111 is free to call and fully trained advisors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Go to your Pharmacy first - at the first sign of a winter illness, even if it’s just a cough or cold, ask your pharmacist, before it gets more serious. Pharmacists are qualified health professionals and have the knowledge and skills to offer you free, confidential advise and treatment for a wide range of conditions. You don’t need an appointment.

See your GP - your local GP surgery provides a wide range of family health services that include advice on health concerns, how to prevent you becoming unwell, vaccinations, examinations and treatment, and prescriptions for medicines. They can also refer you to other health services.

Visit an Urgent Treatment Centre (Minor Injury Unit) -  if you have an urgent injury or illness that is not serious, life or limb threatening, then the nearest Urgent Treatment Centre to you can provide assessment, advice and/or treatment. Examples of common conditions that can be treated in an Urgent Treatment Centre include cuts and grazes, sprains and strains, simple broken bones, wound and wound infections, minor head injuries etc.

Accident & Emergency (or 999) – you should only attend A&E with the most serious, life or limb threatening emergencies and only dial 999 if you think you need an emergency ambulance. Symptoms of serious illness include:

  • Life threatening choking
  • Chest pain
  • Stroke
  • Blacking out
  • Severe blood loss
  • Severe breathing difficulty
  • Severe injury
  • Broken bones (where the bone sticks out or severe deformity)
  • Large/deep cuts
  • Stab wounds
  • Severe burns

A&E is for real emergencies.  If you are in any doubt call NHS 111 for advice.