Help us help you stay well this winter

Local health and care organisations have launched Doncaster’s Borough wide winter campaign to help people in Doncaster stay as well as they possibly can during the cold months.

This year’s campaign focuses on four key areas to support people to stay well, take control over their own health and provide information to enable people to choose the right services for their needs.

Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group, Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals and Doncaster Council have joined forces to reinforce the importance of looking after yourself and others this winter in attempt to spread these important messages far and wide.

The campaign, ‘Help us help you – stay well this winter’ aligns with the national NHS campaign, providing information, advice and guidance for people at a local level.

Cold weather can be seriously bad for your health. That’s why it’s important to look after yourself, especially during the cold winter months. If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s a cough or a cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.

Seasonal coughs and colds are very common during the winter period. You can ask your pharmacist what medicines should be in your cabinet and how to help you and your family get through the winter season.

Many over-the-counter medicines (including paracetamol and ibuprofen) are available to relieve symptoms of common winter ailments such as cold, sore throat, cough, sinusitis or painful middle ear infection (earache). You can always seek advice at the first sign of a cough or cold before it gets more serious.

At this time of the year, flu is a common virus that spreads rapidly. The winter campaign places a focus on the importance of getting a flu jab if you have a long term health condition or if you are over 65.

For many people, a bout of flu makes you feel miserable but it’s not a serious illness. If you are generally healthy, you will usually recover from it within a week. But some people are more at risk of developing potentially serious health problems from flu, such as bronchitis, pneumonia and sometimes death.

Dr David Crichton, Chair of NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group said: “A flu jab not only helps protect you from the virus, it will also help protect your family, those you care for and particularly those patients who are vulnerable to illness.

“Having the vaccine is one of the most simple things you can do to ensure you and your family stay well this winter. I would encourage everyone who is eligible for the jab to have one – clinics are being booked now so please contact your local practice or a pharmacist to have your now. I’ve had mine, have you had yours?.”

During the winter months and particularly over the Christmas and New Year period, local practices see a sharp increase in the number of people requesting urgent repeat medication.

If you take regular prescribed medication, it is important to plan ahead and ensure you have enough in case you cannot leave your home – either due to the weather or in case you don’t feel well.

In the event that you do run out of prescribed medication, contact your local pharmacist or call NHS 111 who should be able to assist with an emergency supply.

Rebecca Joyce, Chief Operating Officer at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals said: “During the cold winter months, our Emergency Departments can get very busy. Poor weather conditions and low temperatures can cause all manner of health issues, so it’s crucial that you only come to hospital when it is absolutely necessary, keeping our emergency services free for those who need them most.”

The campaign will run until the middle of January 2020, using a range of channels such as social media, video, Facebook, newspapers, online advertising, posters and leaflets.

For more information about the campaign, visit http://www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk/winter, get involved in the conversations on twitter, using the hashtag #doncasterwinter19