Stay well this winter

Winter can a tough time for your physical and mental health. When the temperature drops to below 8C, some people are at increased risk of:

  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • flu
  • pneumonia
  • falls and injuries
  • hypothermia

Cold weather can also affect people with mental health conditions, such as depression and dementia. But being prepared can help ward off potential illness. Here’s how:

Top tips for staying warm and well this winter

Heat the home well
Heat your home to a minimum of 18°C (65°F), and make sure you are dressed appropriately for the weather. Setting the temperature slightly above this threshold may be beneficial for your health if you are elderly or vulnerable.

Get financial support
There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating, or help with your bills.

Eat well and have plenty of fluids
Food is a vital source of energy, this helps to keep your body warm. Make sure you and your family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.

Get the flu jab
Certain groups can get a free flu jab to protect against seasonal flu, including over 65s, pregnant women, people with long term illness and the main carers of elderly or disabled people.

Look after yourself and others
Keeping active is important for your health, but on really cold days try to avoid going outside. If you need to venture out, wrap up warm and take care on slippery surfaces. Look out for an older or vulnerable neighbour or relative during this winter to make sure they are safe and well.

For further local information on staying warm and well this winter, visit: or

Free flu vaccinations

The annual seasonal flu vaccination programme is now in full swing. The flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk.

Flu, a highly infectious illness, spreads rapidly through coughs and sneezes of people who are carrying the virus. Anyone can get ‘flu and for most people it is an unpleasant self-limiting illness lasting about a week. However for some people at risk ‘flu can be very serious and can give rise to complications such as pneumonia and lead to hospitalisation and even death, so it is very important to protect those people from ‘flu infection.

Flu vaccination protects those at risk. They are also protected through carers and front line health and social care staff being vaccinated and being unable to infect them. In addition over the past few years young children have been vaccinated using a new nasal vaccine. Children are very efficient at spreading germs and can easily contract flu, vaccination protects them and those around them,

You are eligible to receive a free flu jab if you:

  • are 65 years of age or over
  • are pregnant
  • have certain medical conditions
  • are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

The vaccine is available through GP practices for all those at risk and for children aged 2 to 4 years. For adult at risk groups it is also available from pharmacies. Children in Reception class and years 1 to 4 will receive the nasal vaccine in school.

For front-line health and social care workers it is the employer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for the vaccine.

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