Get winter ready
12 November 2020

With the colder months now upon us, make sure you are ready for winter and help yourself and others to stay safe and well.  Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications, especially if you are 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition.

It may be cold outside, but winter needn't be the unhealthiest time of year for you and your family.  Here are some top tips to make sure that, even when your body is telling you to hibernate, you can keep healthy and fit, no matter what the weather's like. 

  • Many people feel tired and sluggish during winter. This is due to the lack of sunlight, which disrupts our sleep and waking cycles. Try to get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • When it's cold and dark outside, it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food. However, it's important to ensure you still have a healthy diet and include five portions of fruit and veg a day. If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, try a juicy clementine or satsuma instead.
  • Don't use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay in and lounge around. Instead, get out with the whole family to try out a new activity –maybe taking a bracing winter walk through the park.
  • Last month we told you about the importance of getting your flu jab. The best time to get your jab is before the end of this month so don’t delay but do remember the NHS vaccines are available until the end of March 2021.

Remember, if you are unwell there are a number of ways that you can access local healthcare services.

Lots of problems can be treated just by looking after yourself. Making sure you have over-the-counter products such as painkillers, antiseptics and plasters in your medicine cupboard means that if you or your family becomes unwell, you have something to help.

Visiting your pharmacist can be a quick way of accessing medical help and advice.  As well as dispensing prescriptions, they provide a wide range of services and immediate help and advice on many illnesses such as cold and flu, stomach upsets and sore throats.

However, if you or a family member has a condition that you or your pharmacist cannot treat you should contact your GP or NHS 111.

If you have a condition that needs prompt medical help to avoid it deteriorating, but is not life-threatening, then you can access the urgent treatment centre at Tameside Hospital or the primary care access service offers appointment times outside traditional GP practice hours.

Finally, we would both like to stress that your local NHS service is still open and if you have appointments please make sure you attend them or contact your GP if you have any unusual symptoms.