We do everything we can to ensure we are well prepared for winter and we are asking residents to take a few small steps to make sure that when severe winter weather strikes you are prepared and able to manage. Remember to keep warm, keep well and keep connected safely.
Follow these steps to help you stay safer, warm and well and cope with cold weather and coronavirus this winter:
It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
- Make sure you keep your living room warm throughout the day and heat your bedroom before going to bed. To minimise the risks to your health, if you're not moving about as much at home and inactive for long periods you should wear warm clothing indoors and have your home heated to at least 18°C (65F).
- If you use an electric blanket always check it regularly for signs of wear or damage. Never use an electric blanket and a hot water bottle at the same time. If you're in any doubt about your blanket, contact the manufacturer before you use it to make sure that it is safe. It may need to be replaced.
- If you can get outside for a walk during the day in winter you'll not only maintain your fitness you'll be helping to banish the winter blues. Remember to wear thin layers of cotton, wool or fleecy fibres to keep you warm.
- Stay inside in bad weather if you don’t have to go out. If you are going outside, make sure you wear shoes with good grip and a scarf around the mouth to protect you from the cold air, and to reduce their risk of chest infections.
- Check if you are eligible for help to keep your home warm to ensure you are receiving the benefits you are entitled to. Find out if you may be eligible for extra help such as Winter Fuel Payments.
- For additional support, check if you're eligible to register on your energy company's Priority Services Register, a service for older and disabled people. For more information visit the Ofgem website.
- Coronavirus remains a serious health risk. Follow the latest Covid-19 guidance and help protect yourself and others. You can also help to protect your friends and family by downloading the NHS Covid-19 App to keep updated on the latest guidance.
- Flu can be serious and even deadly for older adults, very young children, and people with underlying health conditions. The flu vaccine is the best protection for you and those around you. That’s why it’s free to those most at risk. If you’re in an eligible group – make sure you get vaccinated. Ask your pharmacist or GP if you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine. If you’re eligible, make sure you get your free flu vaccination to protect yourself and those around you from the flu virus. If you've had Covid-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu.
- Some people may be eligible for both the flu and the Covid-19 booster vaccines this winter. If you are offered both vaccines, it's safe to have them at the same time. Find out more about the Covid-19 booster vaccine and who can get it.
- You'll naturally feel more tired during the winter, it's important to have a good night's sleep but eating your five-a-day fruit and veg will also help boost your energy levels.
- Stay as active as you can, any exercise can bring health benefits.
- Try to stock up on food essentials; long life milk, bread in the freezer and make sure you have enough medication.
- If you, your child, or someone you care for starts to feel ill, first of all get help and advice for treating cold and flu symptoms from your local pharmacy. Don't go to A&E unless you have an emergency, if you are in any doubt call 111 for help and advice to get the right treatment. Get repeat prescriptions filled in advance during severe weather and be aware that many surgeries and pharmacies will close over the Christmas and New Year period.
Keep connected safely
Remember that other people, such as older neighbours, friends and family members, may need a bit of extra help over the winter. There’s a lot you can do to help people who are more frail than you.
- Keep in touch with friends, family and your community.
- Get help if you need it. Speak to your GP, pharmacist, carer or key worker for advice.
- Look out for others. Keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours who may be more susceptible to the cold weather, especially if they suffer from any ongoing medical conditions. Ask how they are keeping warm during cold weather.
- Try to arrange someone in advance to put your bin out in wintry conditions if you are unable to.
- Make sure they’re stocked up with enough food supplies for a few days, in case they can’t go out.
Further information and advice
- Be prepared for winter weather. Stock up on grit from your local DIY store, to clear your drive or front path. Icy pavements and roads can be very slippery, and cold weather can stop people from getting out and about.
- Plan ahead. Stay up to date with the weather forecast.
- Register for support from the NHS Volunteer Responders. To arrange support for yourself or someone you know, call: 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).
- This winter might be even tougher than usual. But there’s lots of practical things you can do to look after yourself with this 'keep well this winter' advice from Age UK.
- Citizens Advice offers free and confidential advice online, over the phone and in person.
- Simple Energy Advice provides free advice on energy efficiency and National grants to help with energy bills: 0800 444202.
Stay Well this winter
The NHS have made changes to how they provide care to make it safer for you during the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re worried about your health, don’t delay – help them help you get the care you need this winter.
Dial 999 for life-threatening and emergency conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes and serious injuries.
If you need medical help fast or think you need to go to an Emergency Department (A&E) use NHS 111 first – online or by phone – to get clinical advice or direction to the most appropriate services for treatment. If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, you can use the NHS 111 British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter service via the NHS 111 service or call 18001 111 on a textphone.
For all other health needs, contact your pharmacy or GP practice. GP practices offer consultations online or by phone. You can also access NHS advice and information at the NHS website.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, get tested as soon as possible; apply via the NHS Coronavirus website, or call 119. The service is also available by textphone on: 18001 119 and NHS 119 BSL interpreter service. If you are worried about your symptoms, use the NHS 111 coronavirus service, or call 111 if you cannot get help online.