This winter clinical commissioning groups across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are reminding everyone of the importance of staying well in the cold weather.
- Colds, flu and norovirus are far more likely at this time or year as our immune systems come under attack.
- The cold weather can also be a major trigger for some conditions such as asthma.
- The CCG is advising people to treat illnesses early.
Dr Dick Hurwood, GP and Governing Body member for East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is vital at this time of year, more than any time, we take care of ourselves. I can’t stress enough that basic health advice such as eating well, keeping hydrated and keeping warm are really important for general wellbeing. Being cold, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable can really affect health.
“If you do get a winter illness, treat it early either at home with over the counter medicines or if you’re not sure what to do ask your pharmacist. Colds are best treated with rest and plenty of fluids. Symptoms can be managed with medicines from the chemist.
“If you begin to feel unwell when you GP is closed call 111. You’ll be put straight through to the NHS where someone can tell you the best course of action for your symptoms. If you do need to be seen by a healthcare professional they can tell you which are closest to you and are open.”
If you are ill and need to carry on with your day it’s a good idea to take precautions to minimise the spread to others. Carry tissues rather than handkerchiefs for coughs and sneezes. Don’t re-use them – put them straight in the bin so you’re not carrying the bugs around with you, then wash your hands to kill the germs. Try to stay away from the very young and very old or ill. It may be a cold to you, but could really compromise the health of others.
Make sure you keep medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen in the house. Then if you do feel unwell, you can treat it early and don’t have to go out in cold weather to the pharmacy. It can take up to two weeks to recover from a cold and you will not usually need to see a GP. Antibiotics will not treat a cold.
Make sure you have regular meals and hot drinks and keep your home at a warm temperature – it should be above 18°C. If you do need to go out, wrap up warm and take care if it’s icy. Slips and trips are more common in winter.
If you can help an elderly neighbour with their shopping, repeat prescriptions or other medication it might save them a trip out.
For more information on winter health visit www.nhs.uk/staywell