Take action to manage common winter illnesses

People in Herefordshire are being encouraged to take better care of themselves and their family members during the winter months when seasonal illnesses increase and we face colder weather conditions.

In addition, people are asked to look out for more vulnerable members of their communities, those who may be more isolated during the winter months.

At this time of year, there are an increased number of winter ailments circulating, such as colds and flu. If you do catch one of these, often the best treatment is staying at home, keeping warm and drinking plenty of fluids. Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen can also reduce your temperature and ease any aches and pains.

Over the counter medicines can help with symptom relief and a pharmacist can offer advice if you need it. It’s also worth remembering that antibiotics don’t work on most winter illnesses like colds and flu as these are viral infections and antibiotics don't work against viruses.

If you need further advice, you can call 111, the free NHS Service, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for fast medical advice when it's not an emergency. This can include arranging an out-of-hours GP appointment.

Preventing ill health is important during winter, so choose lifestyle options that will impact positively on your physical health, mental wellbeing and self-esteem. To beat those winter blues and keep healthy make sure you eat well, drink only in moderation, stop smoking and stay active.

It’s also important to ensure that, where possible you do all you can to reduce the spread of illnesses such as flu. This can be achieved by reducing contact with people and staying away from places where there may be people more vulnerable to infection, such as hospitals and GP surgeries.

If you’re coughing and sneezing, make sure that you use a tissue and discard the tissue in the bin as soon as possible, then wash your hands with warm soapy water.

Dr Ian Tait, GP and Clinical Lead for Herefordshire CCG, said: “It is important that people understand about self care, especially during the winter months, when seasonal illnesses increase.

“Knowing how to take medicines, treat minor ailments and seek help when it is needed is vital to helping people look after their health and wellbeing.

”Furthermore, it’s not too late to get your flu jab as flu season runs well into spring so for example if you are pregnant, have an underlying health condition or care for someone who does, please see your GP or local pharmacy about protecting yourself and your loved ones.”

For more information about staying well this winter, visit https://www.nhs.uk/staywell/