Ten top tips to stay safe and well this winter

Stockport Council and the local NHS are supporting the 2017 Stay Well This Winter campaign. Every year, thousands of people die in England as a result of flu and cold weather.

Ten top tips to stay safe and well this winter

There are simple things you can do for yourself and others to Stay Well this winter.

Keep warm

Keeping warm over the winter months can help 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).
  • wear several layers of light clothes.
  • keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights.
  • keep active when you are indoors and try not to sit still for more than an hour or so
  • eat well – food gives you energy, which helps to keep you warm. Try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.

Get a flu vaccination

Flu vaccination is offered free of charge to people who are at risk, pregnant women, carers and some young children. Flu can affect anyone so even if you aren’t entitled to a free one it may be worth paying for one to reduce your risk of getting the flu.

Stock up your medicine cabinet and think Pharmacy if you feel unwell

Ask your pharmacist what medicines should be in your cabinet to help you and your family through the winter season. Remember there is no cure for a cold or flu however a well stocked medicine cabinet and rest can help relieve the symptoms. You can also find lots of advice on managing winter illnesses on NHS Choices..

At the first sign of a winter illness get advice from a pharmacist before it gets more serious. They will be able to advise you as to whether it is necessary for you to see a GP. If you do need medical help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111. Only call 999 for a genuine emergency.

Get your prescriptions on time

Make sure you get your prescription medicines in plenty of time before your pharmacy or GP practice closes for Christmas. If you have been prescribed any medication, make sure you take them as directed by your GP. Check opening times of pharmacies over the holiday period here.

Check your heating / cooking appliances are safe and you have a working smoke alarm

Contact a Gas safe registered engineer to make sure your appliances are safe. Vulnerable households can get extra support by signing up to the Priority Services Register. Contact your gas or electricity network to find out more. Visit www.energynetworks.org to find out who your network operator is. You can also contact Greater Manchester Fire Service for a free home safety check You can book a FREE Safe and Well visit from the Fire Service by calling 0800 555 815 or visit www.manchesterfire.gov.uk
For a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999 or a power cut dial 105.

Make sure you are getting any financial support and discounts you are entitled to

The Local Energy Advice Programme is a free energy and money saving advice service. LEAP can help you to save money and to keep your home warm and cosy. If you’re eligible,you will get a __free __home visit from a friendly, qualified Home Energy Advisor. See www.applyforleap.org.uk or call 0800 060 7567 for more details.

Find out of you could save money on your bills by switching gas and electricity suppliers by visiting the Big Clean Switch website

Stay Connected and talk to someone if feeling depressed

The winter can be a lonely time for people of all ages. Find out what is going on in your local community by visiting the Stockport Local Web pages

For older people who need someone to talk to The Silver Line confidential and free helpline is open 24hours every day of the year. Tel: 0800 4708090

The Sanctuary provides 24-hour support to residents across Stockport (aged 18+) who are experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts or are in crisis. Tel: 0300 003 7029

Look out for your neighbours

Be a good neighbour when it turns cold and look in on your friends, relatives and neighbours who may be more vulnerable and lonely in the winter. It’s a particularly dangerous time of year for the elderly or people with serious illnesses so check up on them if you can.

Stop the bugs spreading

During the winter season there are a lot of bugs about so it is important to make sure you wash your hands properly at all times especially if you are ill or looking after someone who is ill.

Careful as you go

If you are on a night out or at a party try having a non-alcoholic drink every so often and try and avoid pre loading before you go out.

Councillor Tom McGee, Stockport Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, said: “It may be getting cold outside with many bugs circulating but we want our residents to be healthy and happy over the festive season. That’s why the Council wants to make sure that residents get the information they need to be able to look after themselves and others, as well as to know where to go for urgent advice, especially at weekends and holidays.”

For more advice to keep safe and well over the holiday period see the “Stockport People” publication