Manage common winter illnesses
09 January 2019
Herefordshire CCG encourages residents to take action to manage common winter illnesses
Herefordshire residents are encouraged to take better care of themselves* and their families during the winter months, when seasonal illnesses increase and we face colder weather conditions.
Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) advises that at this time of year, there are an increased number of winter ailments circulating, such as colds and flu. If you catch one of these, often the best treatment is to stay at home, keep warm and drink plenty of fluids. Over the counter medicines, including paracetamol or ibuprofen, can help reduce your temperature and ease any aches and pains, while your local pharmacist is available to offer additional advice if needed. 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, simply call NHS 111 (it's free and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year). They can provide fast medical advice when it's not an emergency and also arrange out-of-hours GP appointments.
Preventing ill health is important during winter, so choose lifestyle options that will have a positive impact on your physical health, mental wellbeing and self-esteem. To help beat the winter blues, keep healthy and make sure you eat well, drink in moderation, don't smoke and stay active. Take a look at our keeping well, staying healthy section for additional advice and information.
It’s also important to ensure that, where possible, you do all you can to reduce the spread of illnesses, such as flu. This means reducing contact with people when you're ill and staying away from places where people may be more vulnerable to infection (hospitals and GP surgeries). If you’re coughing and sneezing, make sure you use a tissue and immediately discard it into a bin, then wash your hands with warm soapy water. Take a look at the NHS top tips on how best to wash your hands to protect yourself and others from illness.
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. 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."
To find out more about staying well this winter, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell.
* Please remember to also look out for family, friends and neighbours who may be more vulnerable or isolated during the winter months.