The winter months can be difficult for many of us with shorter days, cooler temperatures and the inevitable colds, bugs and seasonal flu that begin to circulate. This year we have the added issue of the coronavirus to deal with too.
But here at Doncaster CCG, we want you to keep as well and as healthy as possible over the winter season so I’m pleased to announce the start of our ‘Be Winter Well’ campaign. We will be sharing lots of information, tips and advice over the next few weeks to help you stay well. Please look out for these messages on our website and social media as well as posters across the town.
There are a number of things you can do to look after your health and we will be focusing on the specific themes. Here’s a taster of what you will see over the coming weeks:
- Be prepared with essential medicines and supplies in case you get ill. Useful items include aspirin, paracetamol, anti-diarrhoeal medicine, cough medicine, plasters, thermometer and antiseptic cream.
- This year, we have a four-day Christmas weekend so please take time to ensure you have enough medication and order any prescriptions you may need early.
Using online health services
- Sign up to your local practice’s online services so you can easily order medication, book appointments and view test results quickly. For more information visit your practice’s website.
- If you know a family member or neighbour doesn’t have access to or uses the internet, share local health or coronavirus guidance with them so they are up to date with the latest news.
Choosing the right service
- Primary Care across Doncaster is open for business and has adapted to help you stay safe whilst we’re living with the coronavirus pandemic. To help protect you and staff, if you need medical advice or treatment, you may be triaged and consulted over the phone and only seen in person if necessary.
- If you need urgent healthcare in Doncaster there are lots of options, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Same Day Health Centre, local pharmacist, and the GP Out of Hours service can offer advice and treat urgent conditions; there is always one of these services open in Doncaster.
Supporting and looking out for vulnerable people
- If you know someone who is frail or elderly or has an existing health problem and they are feeling unwell, encourage them to seek early advice, go to their local pharmacy or call their local practice before the issue escalates and they end up in hospital.
- The sense of community spirit has really grown over this difficult year. Let’s continue with that and check in with vulnerable neighbours and family to ensure they are safe and well, keeping warm enough and have sufficient stocks of food and medicines.
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.
The NHS offers the flu vaccine free of charge to certain groups of people and details of who is eligible are available here.
Stay mentally well
Winter can be a very lonely time for people with no family nearby. Please take time to check in safely with your neighbours who may be elderly or vulnerable.
The dark winter months can bring a host of mental health issues to the forefront of our minds. Be kind to yourself and make time for things that make you happy. From a simple cuppa, to a warm bath, take moments to have some calm time and a break away from the stresses of everyday life.
Know your symptoms
And finally, remind yourself of the symptoms of cold, flu and coronavirus. These illnesses are caused by different viruses but have similar symptoms so it’s important to know what symptoms to look out for:
- Common cold – stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, sore head
- Flu – sudden fever, chills, aching muscles, tiredness/exhaustion, headache
- Coronavirus – high temperature, new, continuous cough, loss of or change in taste or smell
We can get through winter together by looking after ourselves, looking after each other, by following the guidance and using the right service to help you keep fit and well.
Age UK: Stay healthy in winter