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Vale of York GP provides top tips for staying well in winter

Vale of York GP provides top tips for staying well in winter

People in the Vale of York are being urged to keep warm and well during winter as the region gets ready for the arrival of the cold weather – and a local GP has provided some top tips to help everyone do so.

There are a number steps you can take to help protect yourself against the cold weather. With that in mind, Dr Nigel Wells, NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s Clinical Chair and a local GP, has provided his tips to help you stay well this winter.

Get your free flu vaccination

Flu is easy to catch but even easier to prevent. The annual flu vaccine is the best protection against flu so if you are eligible for a free flu vaccine book an appointment now.

You are eligible for a free flu jab if you are:

Contact your GP practice, local community pharmacy or midwife to arrange a flu vaccination.

Why wait to see your doctor? You may not need to…

When you’re not very well, you just want to get help as soon as possible. But it may not be necessary to see your GP and it could be more appropriate and quicker for you to see other health professionals, such as a practice nurse, counsellor, physiotherapist or pharmacist.

Click here for more information.

Consult your pharmacist at the first sign of illness

At the first sign of a cough or a cold get help from your pharmacist before it gets more serious. Pharmacists can provide many of the same services that GPs do, but you don’t need to book an appointment to see them.

They can offer treatments and free advice on common illnesses and ailments including: colds and flu; coughs, sore throats and runny noses; upset stomachs; ear infections; diarrhoea; back pain and minor rashes.

Be self-care aware

You can self-treat many minor illnesses and injuries at home by resting and using over-the-counter medicines available at your local pharmacy. Most ailments will begin to get better within a couple of days.

The CCG has teamed up with a number of Vale of York GPs to create a series of self-care videos, to help you self-treat common illnesses such as cold and flu at home using over-the-counter medicines. These can be viewed here.

Use NHS 111 for urgent but non-life threatening conditions

NHS non-emergency number 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When you call 111 free of charge you will speak to a highly trained adviser who will direct you to the most appropriate medical care.

Vale of York residents can now access the NHS 111 service online as well as over the phone at if they need urgent healthcare or health advice.

Heat your home well

It’s important to keep warm during winter when indoors as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems.

Setting your heating to at least 18C (65F) will keep you warm at home but you might want your living room, or whichever room your spend most time in, to be slightly warmer.

Eat well and drink plenty of fluids

Try to eat at least one hot meal a day, drink plenty of water and hot drinks through the day. Food and water are vital sources of energy, and they help to keep your body warm.

Keep your medicine cabinet well stocked

Make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked with plenty of over-the-counter remedies to treat coughs and colds so that if you do catch something you do not have to venture out into the cold to get medicine.

If you’re on medication make sure you visit your local pharmacy in time to get repeat prescriptions to avoid running out.

Wrap up warm when outside

If you do need to go outsid be sure to wrap up warm, wearing plenty of layers rather than one chunky layer.

Don’t forget to wear a warm hat, scarf and gloves. Clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres help to maintain body heat.

Look out for others

Check up on older neighbours and relatives, and those with heart or respiratory problems, to make sure they're safe and well, warm enough  and have enough food and medicines.

Dr Nigel Wells said: “Prevention is key to staying well during winter so if you are eligible for a free flu vaccine you should book an appointment now. Getting a flu vaccine is one of the quickest, and most effective, things you can do to stay well this winter.

“At the first sign of a cough or a cold get help from your pharmacist before it gets more serious and speak to your pharmacist about medicines you should have in stock to help get you and your family through winter.

“GPs are here to help you get better but are often extremely busy during winter, when illnesses such as cold and flu are much more prevalent and therefore demand for services is significantly greater.”

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