Stay well for longer this winter
Winter can be hard on people’s health so it pays to be prepared.
As a trust, we’re supporting the national Stay Well This Winter campaign and encouraging people to make sure they’re in the best possible position to stay well for longer over the winter months.
Prevention is always more comfortable than cure. So if you start to feel you’re coming down with a winter illness, get down to your local pharmacy before it gets more serious. While you’re there, make sure you speak to them about medicines you should have at home to help get you and your family through the winter season.
It’s a good idea to make sure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet and – ideally – a first aid kit. This need not be fancy or expensive; just the basics. Items such as pain relief like aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen – however, please remember that this will be dependent on previous advice given to you regarding any long-term conditions – antihistamines, oral rehydration salts, plasters, bandages and antiseptic will stand you and your family in good stead over winter and throughout the year.
While we’re considering medicines, make sure you order and collect any prescriptions well before the festive break.
If you experience problems which are urgent and cannot be looked after by practising self-care at home or visiting a pharmacy or a GP, we’d urge you to ring NHS 111 for advice on which service to access. The service is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is free from a landline or mobile phone, and an advisor will direct you to the most appropriate place for the severity of your condition.
Ringing NHS 111 first will help NHS services to be used wisely this winter; ensuring emergency services at our Northumbria hospital (Cramlington) are kept free for those who need them most.
It’s worth bearing in mind that cold is at least a partial cause of many illnesses. If you can, then heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F); although you might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer. A properly heated home can help to prevent colds, flu and even more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights – breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections.
Keep active when you’re indoors and try not to sit still for more than an hour or so.
Wear several layers of light clothes. They trap warm air better than one bulky layer.
During winter there do tend to be more bugs around, however, please remember you must not come into hospital if you have symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting as these can easily spread to patients in hospital. Please wait until you’re symptom-free for 48 hours. Equally, if you have a friend or loved one in hospital with these symptoms you must not visit them.
We know how important it is for patients who are staying in hospital to hear from their loved ones so if you are ill and unable to visit in person, please ring the ward and the team can arrange for you to speak to your friend/relative.
We hope you will find this advice useful to not only help you stay well this winter, however, play your part in helping the NHS run as efficiently as it can over the next few months.