Stay well this winter
NHS England and Public Health England have launched a national campaign this year to help people prepare for cold winter weather. People that are most at risk during cold weather in the winter include people with long-term health conditions and people aged over 65. It is important to be prepared for cold temperatures.
Each winter, approximately 25,000 more people die compared to other times of the year. Some conditions can be made worse by the cold weather. 80 per cent of these deaths are linked to circulatory diseases. These include conditions such as heart disease, lung illnesses, dementia and respiratory diseases like asthma.
How does the cold weather affect illnesses?
Being exposed to cold temperatures increases your blood pressure. This increases the risk of heart failure, kidney disease, stroke and dementia. Cold temperatures may be inside or outside at this time of year. These cold temperatures may also make blood more likely to clot. This may be linked to heart attacks and stroke. Being cold can also affect the respiratory system and this makes it harder for your lungs to fight off infection. This means that cold temperatures are linked to problems such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
How should I prepare?
Especially during the colder season, it is important to seek advice and help from your pharmacist as soon as you feel unwell. Make sure to ask your pharmacist before the condition gets more serious. If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s a cough or cold, go and see your pharmacist for advice and help.
You should make sure to get the prescription medicines that you need before your pharmacy or GP practice closes at Christmas. You can search by your postcode to find your local pharmacy.
Winter health tips
- Many over-the-counter medicines (including paracetamol and ibuprofen) are available from your pharmacy to help relieve the symptoms of common winter ailments such as coughs and colds.
- Practical steps including wrapping up warm, even when temperatures are not freezing, can help.
- Experts advise people to make sure their homes are heated to at least 18°C and to look out for other people who are at an increased risk of illness over the winter months. Cold or damp homes are linked to poor mental health and social isolation. Therefore making sure your home is adequately heated is important at this time of year. A study suggested that people living in the 25 per cent coldest homes were at an approximately 20 per cent greater risk of dying in winter than people who live in the warmest homes. For more information on keeping your home warm this winter, have a look at these tips from the NHS.
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet and staying physically active is important at this time of year too. If you suffer from tiredness over the winter, regular exercise and eating the right foods may help. You can find out more about dealing with winter tiredness on NHS Choices.
- You can find out more about dealing with winter health problems, such as cold sores and dry skin problems, here.
- Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir have also released a song which includes tips on staying well this winter.