When it gets too cold for too long there can be many health risks. Being prepared for winter can make all the difference. It’s important to remember to stay healthy, making sure that the cold weather doesn't harm you or your loved ones. Follow the THREE Ps and prepare, prevent and protect yourself and your family in the cold weather.  

Prepare

Prevent

  • Get your flu vaccination
  • Order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time
  • Stock up on supplies such as cold remedies and essential first aid items
  • Heat your home to at least 18C (65F) and wear extra layers when going outside

Protect

  • Many more people are vulnerable to health problems in the cold. Look out for friends, family and neighbours and those with existing health conditions

Know where to Go

A&E is extra busy this time of year, so if you need medical help but it isn’t an emergency there are other routes you should use. NHS organisations nationwide are urging people to 'Help Us, Help You' by understanding what health service to use if you feel unwell over the winter. This helps to ensure that the thousands of people needing help get the care they need as quickly as possible. Click here for full details.

You can dial 111 if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation. The service is free to use and is open 24 hours a day and should be used if you think you need to go to A&E, don’t know who to call or if you need health information or reassurance about what to do next. 


Get Your Flu Jab

People who are at increased risk from flu are entitled to their free flu vaccination. If you’re over 65, pregnant, have a long term health condition or a learning disability, see your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to get the free flu jab as soon as possible. Protect yourself and the people you care for, those under three are also entitled to the vaccination too. 

See a Pharmacist

At the first sign of a cough or cold, get immediate advice from a pharmacist before it gets more serious. They’re on hand to help you keep well, offer advice and provide an early diagnosis. Make sure you speak to a pharmacist about medicines to have in stock over winter and pick up prescription medications before the Christmas holidays start.

Keeping Warm

The cold weather can seriously affect your health so it's very important to keep yourself well and your home warm. Very cold weather can affect anyone, but you are most vulnerable if:

  • you're 65 or older
  • you have a long-term health condition, such as heart, lung or kidney disease
  • you're disabled
  • you're pregnant
  • you have young children (newborn to school age)
  • you have a mental health condition
  • you're on a low income (so can't afford heating)

Tops tips for a keeping warm include:

  • Heat your home to at least 18C (65F) and keep your bedroom at 18C all night if you can – and keep the bedroom window closed
  • Draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts
  • Wear extra layers when going outside. Several layers of clothes are better for staying warm rather than one chunky layer
  • Stay active – even moderate exercise can help keep you warm
  • Have at least one hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm; and make sure you have hot drinks regularly

Visit the NHS website for lots of handy and practical information on keeping warm over the winter.