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Keeping well in winter 

Keep warm, keep well

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. Click here for some simple things you can do to help yourself stay well this winter.

In the winter, colds and flu are circulating and older people can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. Certain health conditions are more obvious when a cold spell takes hold - more people experience chest problems, such as infections and breathing problems. For more advice visit: www.nhs.uk/keepwarmkeepwell

Winter health

Winter can affect our health in all sorts of ways. Lack of natural daylight can lead to the winter blues, winter health risks like colds, flu and falls on ice, and winter weight gain is common.

Get the jab

The best time of the year to get a flu vaccination is in the Autumn from September to early November. It is free and it is effective against the latest flu virus strains. Even if you've already had a flu jab in previous years, you need another one this year. GP practices in Suffolk are offering flu clinics, click here or contact your GP surgery for details.

There are three main ways of preventing flu:

  • Hygiene - handwashing
  • Flu jab
  • Antiviral medicines (Relenza or Tamiflu)

Coping with flu

Try to rest, eat well, and drink plenty of fluids.

Going to your local Pharmacy could save you time and avoid a trip to your GP. You can get professional advice and treatments without an appointment. There are many medicines that you can buy over-the-counter which will ease symptoms.

  • Painkillers such as paracetemol, ibuprofen and asprin, can bring down your temperature and help with aches and pains.
  • If you have a stuffy nose, decongestants can help. They reduce the swelling inside your nose so you can breathe more easily. You could also inhale steam with a decongestant in it which will help clear a blocked nose.
  • Contact your GP if: You already have a heart or chest complaint, diabetes, a serious medical condition, or if you are worried.

For more tips and advice for keeping you and your family warm and well in the very cold weather, visit www.nhs.uk/Livewell/winterhealth or www.nhs.uk/staywell (please note, opens in new browser window)

Key tips to staying warm

  • Keep your home warm.  Your main living room should be between around 18-21C (64-70F). User a hot water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same) to keep warm while your're in bed.
  • Wrap up warm, inside and out.  Several thin layers of clothes are better than one thick layer. If possible stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.
  • Keep active.   Move around at least once an hour and don't sit down for long periods of time. Even light exercise will help keep you warm.
  • Eat well.  Eat warming hearty and healthy meals. Porridge makes a really filling, warming and healthy start to the day.
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