Take steps to prevent poor health this winter

27th October 2022

Local health and care leaders are urging people in Norfolk and Waveney to take extra steps to look after their health and stay as well as possible over the winter months.

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. Take steps early to prevent poor health this winter. Help out older and vulnerable friends and family members to help them prepare for winter.

This year with COVID-19, flu and other seasonal viruses circulating, it’s more important than ever for people to take extra steps to help prevent illnesses and be prepared for the winter ahead. This will help to ease additional pressures on health and social care services during this time of year.

You can find more tips and resources to help you and your family stay warm and well this winter at www.winterwellnorfolkwaveney.co.uk

Here are some important actions that you can take to get ready for winter:

Is your home ready for winter?

This year with the rising costs of energy, more people will be careful about how long they leave the heating on.

If you are living in a cold home, make sure that you’re getting all the support you’re eligible for to improve the heating and energy efficiency of your home. Norfolk Warm Homes and Suffolk Warm Homes both have information about services available locally. Book these services in early to warm your home efficiently this winter.

Check your heating and cooking appliances are safe and efficient. And if you heat your home with oil, make sure you have your order placed early.

Small energy saving measures can have a big impact. The Met Office has tips to help you keep the heat in your home this winter.

Protect your health

The COVID-19 and flu viruses circulate easily in the winter months, so get protected with these essential winter vaccinations. You can find out more about flu vaccinations and book appointments for both COVID-19 and flu vaccinations at www.nhs.uk/wintervaccinations.

If you are feeling unwell, please don’t leave health concerns to get worse. Speak to your community pharmacist, GP, or contact 111 online at 111.nhs.uk or by phone to seek medical help.

Check your medicine cabinet

The cold and damp weather of winter, ice, snow, and high winds can all make existing health problems worse and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses.

Stock your medicine cabinet with essential remedies to help you recover at home, and stop winter illnesses from developing into something more serious:

  • Ibuprofen and paracetamol
  • Calpol for babies and young children
  • Cough syrups and lozenges
  • Common cold and flu remedies
  • Plasters, bandages, and antibacterial ointments
  • A hot water bottle
  • Balsam tissues for sore noses

You can buy useful remedies for lots of minor illnesses from your local pharmacist or supermarket, often at very little cost. Own-brand versions are often cheaper but just as effective.

Do you know where to turn if you need help with your mental health?

Winter can be a very isolating time. The shorter daylight hours can take a toll on our mental health, and poor weather can keep us indoors and change our normal routine.

Focussing on activities that bolster your mind, body, and spirit can help you to manage low feelings. Take 5 is a local campaign that focuses on activities anyone can do to help improve their emotional wellbeing. Find out more at www.norfolk.gov.uk/take5.

If you are a parent, Just One Norfolk has a wide range of information on children’s mental health support services for 0-25s https://www.justonenorfolk.nhs.uk/mentalhealth.

Stock your food cupboard

Food provides a vital source of energy and keeps our bodies warm. Make sure your food cupboard is stocked with plenty of tinned and frozen food to see you through any periods of extreme cold weather.

Tinned and frozen vegetables count towards your five-a-day, so they are good staples to stock up on. Pulses and beans, pasta, and jars of tomato sauce or passata are useful store cupboard staples that can be used to cook quick and nutritious meals.

If you don’t use a supermarket grocery delivery service, your local library can help you to sign up for one. For older or vulnerable adults who might not want to go out during extreme cold weather, plan in advance for a friend or neighbour to drop off groceries and medicines if it gets very cold and icy.