Focus on Disability is supporting the 2016/17 Stay Well This Winter campaign.
The Stay Well This Winter campaign is a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England, which encourages people with long-term conditions and those over 65 to be ready for the colder season and to seek immediate advice and help from a pharmacist as soon as they feel unwell, before their condition gets more serious.
Cold weather can be very harmful, especially for people age 65 or older: it weakens the immune system, increases blood pressure, thickens the blood and lowers body temperature, increasing risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections. For those with COPD; bronchitis, emphysema; diabetes or heart and kidney, cold weather, and winter illnesses such as flu, can make health problems like these far worse.
There are a number of things which can help people prepare against the cold weather.
It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F), if you can, you might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer.
At the first sign of a cough or a cold get help from your pharmacist before it gets more serious and make sure you speak to your pharmacist about medicines you should have in stock to help get you and your family through the winter season.
Keep an eye out for elderly relatives and neighbours. Supporting them in the cold weather can help them stay well this winter.
And it’s still not too late, if you are eligible make sure you get your free flu jab. It’s free because you need it. Contact your GP or pharmacist. If you are the main carer of an older or disabled person you may also be eligible for the free flu jab, speak to your GP.
The Stay Well This Winter campaign can help you and your family prepare for winter. Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell for more information. Or follow the campaign on twitter or facebook at #StayWellThisWinter