Residents urged to stay well this winter

Healthcare leaders in Northumberland are urging members of the public to look after themselves well this winter.

Sunday, 20th November 2016, 7:32 am
Dr Jane Weatherstone of Northumbria Healthcare

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is backing the national Stay Well This Winter campaign, a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England, to help people with long-term conditions and those over 65 prepare for winter and ward off common winter illnesses.

Dr Jane Weatherstone, associate medical director of primary and community care at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “The national Stay Well This Winter campaign gives the public great advice on how to look after themselves well during the winter months.

“The cold weather can be harmful for older people and those with long-term conditions and it’s really important that people keep warm at home, and outside and visit their pharmacy as soon as they develop symptoms of a cough or cold.

“We’re also urging everyone who’s eligible for a free flu jab such as pregnant women, people suffering from a long-term health condition, those over 65 and carers to have their free jab and also encouraging parents of young children to have them vaccinated.”

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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.

The Stay Well This Winter campaign details 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. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F), if you can, and, at the first sign of a cough or a cold get help from your pharmacist before it gets more serious. The free flu vaccination is particularly important for those at increased risk.